Learning to condition your Embodied Mind
The main underlying reason why patients, over a certain age, have injuries and discomfort is down to a fundamental lack of conditioning. Medicine now calls this lack of fitness hypo-kinetic disease. (Reduced movement disease.)
That many people, over a certain age, do not enjoy their bodies is also often down to a lack of conditioning. Remember that conditioning your embodied mind (your body) also profoundly changes how you feel at the level of – energy, hormones, strength, flexibility, bounce, mojo and the rest.
"Health is not for the chosen few. But the few who choose."
Far too many people hide the gradual decline of their embodied health & fitness behind what is known as the ageing process. When the greater part of it in the modern Western world is really down to what we might call the neglect process.
The underlying problem is that as we have evolved as a species very successfully by naturally – avoiding pain, pursuing pleasure and saving energy. So we find almost everything about beginning the process of conditioning or re-conditioning profoundly challenging. For it engages with – some level of discomfort, inevitably delays pleasure and spends a lot of energy.
The starting point of all training therefore is accepting that training and conditioning right across the strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness spectrum is and always will be challenging and require effort. This fundamental relationship between challenge and change is absolute.
"If it doesn't challenge you, it does not change you."
There is no way around this truth about the need for challenge in training so we had better learn from it to our advantage. For once we can recognise that it is the experience of being challenged itself that is the catalyst for change, we can begin to understand the basics of stimulating and managing psychophysical change in the human embodied mind.
What is clear is that the point of being authentically challenged is when the loading we have chosen to engage with is engaging – mental, emotional and physical levels at the same time requiring and engaging more effort. This mental, emotional and physical challenge demanding more effort from us is called the training effect. You challenge the embodied mind and it responds at a regenerative cellular healing level by rebuilding the tissues broken down during the challenge. This training effect is also called the xxxx.
Contraction, Relaxation and Cardiovascular Fitness
The best way to understand the nature of the spectrum of possible challenges we can engage with is to divide them simple into – strength, flexibility and cardiovascular. The strength and flexibility (contraction - relaxation) axis is the main musculoskeletal part of conditioning with the cardiovascular system supplying the oxygenated blood with glycogen for energy, nutrition and hormones. Most sports will use a balance of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness exercises to enhance conditioning specific to the sport.
We can build a complete training program out of these 3 core elements. But unfortunately it is all too common to find people who push one area at the expense of the others. What is not recognised, unless you have been there personally, is that there is a mid point that is a synergy or even alloy of the 3 core elements. A fit, strong and supple body.
Aiming to have a fit, strong and supple body is a shift of mind set. Often shifting from being a victim to beginning to think and act like a champion. One of the best things about organising your training and conditioning is that you are the only one who really knows the level of challenge you are engaging with. Though it is usually pretty obvious from the outside.
Photo - Unknown
BIO - Nigel Stainton.
After over 20 years of helping patients with advice on their health and conditioning it has become clear that what people really need is to really learn how to train in the same way one learns to play a musical instrument. In this instance the musical instrument is your body. It does not matter what level you hope to take your conditioning, unless you really know how to train like a champion, you will never get the result you want.
As an ex-elite javelin thrower and all round athlete in my youth in the UK, I was privileged to train along side an number of olympic champions and world record holders from athletics. I have integrated my understanding of strength and condition from athletics with my detailed understanding of the full body, mind, emotions and consciousness from cranial osteopathy and come up with a very simple and effective appraoch to training. What I call – Traingle Training because it is based on an integration of strength, flexability and cardiovascular fitness.
It does not matter what you level of conditioning is or how fare you want to take your training the path is the same. What changes is the intesity or the training.
After 20 years as an osteopath I have come to appreciate just how important conditioning work is as we begin to get older. In fact the simple truth is you can't condition beyond your level of treatment and you can't be treated beyond your level of conditioning. Health and fitness are two side of a single dynamic entity. Unfortunately many people think that they are excused from staying in condition as they get older because everyone else seems to let it go. The gradual physical decline is put down to the ageing process. While the ageing process is all too real. Most of what people experience over the age of 50, in the modern world, is the neglect process.
Unfortunately by the time most people realise what is happening they believe that it is too late. But the truth is that it is never too late to make significant changes to our basic levels of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. We just need the honesty to accept where we are and engage in the challenge to do the work required. Teaching you what to do and how to do in a safe and gradual way it is the service I now offer my patients to help them return to the level of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness they want and need.
I call this training Triangle Training because it is this balance of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness that is the essence of what is needed to create the strong, flexable and fit body you want. Let me be quite clear at the outset what you get out of this training will be a direct expression of what you put in. This is a fundamental truth that you will never find a way around. But if you are willing to accept that there is not change without challenge and that this challenge will require effort then it does not matter where you are starting from assuming that you are under 85 possitive change will happen.
Teaching you to Train
The best way to think of the service I provide is to think of it as being like a music teacher. I teach you how to train and you go away and practice. If you don't practice you not get much out of it. I have created a page for my patients on the principles of training. These are the fundamental principles know to athletics and strength and conditioning coaches that are tried and tested to create strong, flexable and fit bodies. Usually to compete at a high level of sport. The key is to train like a champion even if you just want to enjoy a normal (non competative) level of health and wellbeing.