Gyms were created as an artificial substitute for labor. Not
too many people hunt and gather their food anymore or work in the garden every
day to get their dose of essential daily exercise. Sure, there are active jobs
like construction, nursing, athletics, and food service, but most of the
population sits behind a desk, or a television.
Gyms are fine and serve their purpose but should not be used
a sole source of exercise. Human movement is almost always regulated, hindered,
and altered mechanically on machines such as elliptical trainers, treadmills,
bikes, and weight machines. Repetition for minutes upon hours upon days will,
and does, alter natural human movement, which has ramifications not only on the
skeleton, but neural drive, programming, and movement as a whole.
Taking a look at a treadmill you’ll see that it is basically
a conveyor belt. You lift a leg and the belt slips underneath. Sure, there is
contact, friction, and push-off, but true forward propulsion through space is
not taking place. In fact, if you were to jump in the air, increasing the time
you are not in contact with the belt, the treadmill still moves along at the
same speed. You did not progress forward to cover the 3.8mph it states on the
console. So, is the treadmill the same as walking? Kind of. Are you moving
forward through space? No. Human forward propulsion is somewhat hindered, and
easily fooled. The treadmill serves its purpose as another tool in your
exercise arsenal but certainly not meant to be used as a complete substitute
for actual walking, jogging, or sprinting.
~ Read Treadmill Detriments Article ~
Resistance training machines, the ones where you put a pin
in a weight stack and pull or push on a handle, platform, or bar, also have
their problems. Most machines do not adjust to take into account a person’s
individual make-up, skeletal lever length, etc. In addition, the path of motion
is usually dictated which may or may not be a part of your goal. Options and
freedom of motion are limited. Relying solely on these machines for gains in
strength, size, or endurance is a mistake.
TRY THESE ONCE IN A WHILE
Walk, Jog, Hike, & Sprint In A Park That Has Terrain
only is the surface different by running on grass, dirt, or mulch, but the
body’s adaptation to minute adjustments to hills, rocks, mounds, and other
obstacles is super beneficial to balance, coordination, and stamina as opposed
to running in a circle on a flat concrete. Navigate your course first to note
and avoid any bad obstacles such as holes that aren’t too fun to land in.
The School Track
This is a fun way to actually gauge your progress with time
and distance since it is marked out. Doing a series of 100m dashes and getting
a time is a great challenge to yourself. A nice workout is a couple of walk-trot
laps to warm-up, then proceed to doing a 100m sprint, walk back to the start
line and perform whatever you are capable of; may 5 or 10 total.
Haven’t done it in a while? It’s like a bike, you never
really forget. Start slow, maybe just one minute, or just try and get 50 jumps
without missing. Besides the cardio benefits, the rope is great for
coordination and ankle/foot complex strength, stability, and mobility.
Rowing Machine or Nordic Trac
A couple of the forgotten and unused exercise pieces lurking
in the corner of a health club or your basement under laundry. A great arm/leg
Don’t choose a 50 ft cliff or 80 ft tree right off the bat.
Start small and check out the demands of the upper body, lower body, and core
trying to hoist your body through space.
Most of us rarely move to the side, it looks kind of goofy
walking down the street sideways. But, exercises such as lateral leaping,
squatting to the side, and the exercise slide are all beneficial for muscles,
tendons, and ligaments that get ignored usually but need to be challenged for
the moments they are called into action.
Other Human Movements to Explore
As a human beings,
motions we perform are: Walk, Run, Sprint, Jump, Leap, Hop, Bounce, Bend, Reach,
Roll, Twist, Grip, Push, Pull, Squat, Crawl, Throw, Catch, Hit. (and more, and
in combination). Try not becoming accustomed to just one, two or three,
but explore the other motions once in a while during a workout.