PURSUIT OF CALM #23
Physical training for mental well-being
Mind training for physical well-being

Hello Friends…
Speaking with a client the other day, he asked me what I had planned over the weekend, and as I rattled off my *demanding social calendar of dinner parties, pre-Christmas get-togethers, clubbing commitments, and a trip to Bunnings to pick up the latest in this seasons **Christmas decorations, I also mentioned that every Sunday is run-day, where I strap on my trainers and do a 10km coastal run.
Hearing this he said, “I f**** can’t stand f****** running, it f***** kills my, f****** legs.”
I replied, ‘if you trained and built up the required leg and cardiovascular strength then it becomes easier- two things you haven’t trained. You also drink nearly everyday, smoke and are continuously exhausted, so it’s no wonder you f****** h**** (even the thought’ of) running”. 

*complete rubbish
**you know who you are

 

Reality, Yikes! 

The reality is, no matter what we do – whether its running, playing tennis, learning to crochet, or meditating, whatever choice we make there is always a corresponding obstacle, problem or hurdle to learn to overcome from said choice.

Whether that obstacle, problem or hurdle manifests itself in the form of learning something new, applying consistent practice, overcoming laziness, remaining sober, dealing with conflicting existing habits, acts of self-sabotage, or the influence of unsupportive friends and family – overcoming the obstacles that lay in front of us requires strength.

Strength of mindset & psychology, plus strength in physicality.
If we don’t have ‘strength’ then we’re unable to overcome the ‘new obstacles’ (where we learn) that impedes our desired outcomes. Nor will we have the ‘strength’ to address, and reduce the impact of our ‘existing obstacles’ (current habits & behaviours that we need to ‘unlearn’) that will conflict, and ultimately jeopardise our ability to pursue and practice our desired outcomes.
Whereas meditation and breath-work is a practice to strengthen our cognitive resolve, improve calm, and provide ourselves an opportunity to reflect, seek and investigate, learn and practice where we can be kinder and gentler to ourselves. Today’s article is about the importance of physical strength – not only in terms of cardiovascular health, strength & lean muscle mass, but in the activity itselfthe process.

 

Making a Commitment To Yourself

Like dedicating consistent time to practice quietude (meditation, breath-work, long walks on the beach at sunrise, skipping through the daffodils), making a commitment to practice improving your strength, whatever method you use, is another form of meditation. And like static meditation, exercise & strength training requires both intention (focus) + intension (exertion) + discipline (deliberate, repeated practice).

 

The more you deliberately practice
stepping out of your comfort zone,
the more comfortable you will feel in your life…

 

Because we can all tend to naturally move towards actions and behaviours that are habitual and easy, we need to be mindful and resist constantly resorting to ‘comfort’, and voluntarily expose ourselves to a bit of positive-suffering…suffering that makes us stronger in every sense of the word.

A consistent exercise & strength training regime will not only pay you huge dividends with your physical health, but will only further build the very important inner-citadel of resilience that we all need to better cope with the challenging & distracting times we live in.

Like our muscles get stronger when placed under repeated time under tension, so does our mental fortitude when placed under regular voluntary pressure (eustress)

 

Movement is Freedom / Freedom is Movement 

[Note: I will use the word ‘exercise’ to cover both cardiovascular & strength, unless otherwise stated.]

We want to live not only longer, but as healthy as possible.

What use is all that money in the bank, your holiday home, your ability to travel, or the joy of grand children etc if you don’t have vitality and freedom of movement?

Unless prescribed by your physician, forget the pills, lotions, supplements, juices, fad diets, detoxes and the scalpel…exercise is the single most important longevity drugthat we have available to us – bar none.

It is one of the most important things we can do to not only improve our physical wellbeing, but to also vastly improve our cognitive and psychological wellbeing.

Movement is an opportunity, not a hindrance

Consistent (and I mean daily) physical activity is an essential tool to both reduce stress, and practice eustress…voluntary resilience building activities that puts healthy ‘demands’ on our minds and body’s. Again if you not only want to live longer, but longer-healthier, if you want to resource yourself and harvest self-confidence, hone your self-control, and become more *responsible to your body & mind when you find yourself under duress, then a dedicated exercise regime geared to improve strength, increase/ maintain lean muscle mass, and cardio-respiratory fitness is what’s required.

 

[*Responsible means being response-abled: This will be a future topic, but if you have ‘resourced yourself’ with tools that strengthen you physically and psychologically – then you will be better-enabled to deal with the obstacles, problems and hurdles that life invariable throws at us. And exercise is the perfect tool to strengthen your response-ability]

 

The (Free) Wonder Drug…with only positive side-effects…except the *DOM’s…they can suck [DOM’s Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness]
Exercise is associated with the reduction in risk of many adverse conditions, including the 4 major chronic diseases: metabolic dysregulation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegeneration. Metabolic dysregulation has many guises including type 2 diabetes, systemic insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Exercise is associated with lowering risk of the conditions that kill the majority of adults over the age of 40.

Exercise is probably the most potent “drug” we have for extending the quality and quantity of our years of life.
If you smoke, drink too much, if you continually overeat and overweight, chronically stressed, suffer severe irregular sleep, or have diabetes for example, not only your risk of premature death escalates, but your capacity to live a normal active/functioning life is severely debilitated.

Your risk of death, with high cardio-respiratory fitness goes significantly down much more than your risk of death goes up than from smoking, excessive alcohol, chronically insufficient sleep, diabetes etc

Smoking, obesity, diabetes etc will double or triple your risk of death

Having a high level cardio-respiratory fitness gives you a 5-fold reduction in all cause mortality.

There are no drugs, no drugs that will provide a 5X reduction in mortality.

Now, when you layer in strength and muscle mass into the equation (muscle mass is a good proxy for strength, however current data indicates that when it comes to longevity, ‘strength’ is slightly more important than ‘muscle mass’)

Strength provides a 3-fold reduction in all cause mortality – when you compare high strength to low strength.

When we’re talking strength we’re talking about grip-strength, ‘dead-hang’ strength, how long can you do an air squat – what’s your quad strength?.

How quickly can you do chair squats or how easily can you get up off the floor – all outlined in the next article.

[Ref: Peter Attia]

 

Start Where You Are

Interestingly you will get the most benefit from being not fit to getting fairly fit. Likewise you will garner more benefits from being not strong to getting fairly strong. This alone will give you in the range of 2-4X reduction in mortality.

It doesn’t matter if you are 30 or 80, or what your current level of fitness is right now – you can (re)commence exercise & strength training at any age.

If you are +45 human then strength training is essential for better hormonal management, increased bone health/density, improved balance, proprioception, and mobility…not to mention your psychology.

Even on a cellular level, the more lean muscle mass we have – the greater levels of mitochondria…essential for a longer & healthier lifespan.

The fact is if you’ve never exercised, or haven’t exercised recently, then the best time to start is now…because your results, if maintained, will be profoundly life-changing.

 

Don’t Give Up On Yourself

Now obviously avoiding early death is preferred, but what I encourage we keep front and centre is the quality of our life as we age.

Not only does ‘exercise’ keep you alive longer, but it positively, seriously powerfully, profoundly impacts every.aspect.of.your.life…can you tell I’m excited?

Benefits including…

You sleep better

You’re less stressed

Self-esteem skyrockets

Anxiety levels plummets

You’re more vital and virile

You become calmer, and more in control…imagine how this would benefit every aspect of your life-trajectory…go on…imagine. 

 

A true story…

About 10 years ago I was referred to a elderly client who was undergoing cancer treatment. He was in his mid to late 70s and was diagnosed with lung cancer. He never smoked once in his life – but his wife of 50 years had (and still did at the time).

His long term prognosis wasn’t good, he had about 3-6 summers left.

He was an extremely well-off gent, living in the plush suburb of Peppermint Grove. And when I first met with him he was a quite dismissive of ‘training’ and only agreed to see me due to his doctor, a close friend, constant nagging.

I ask him what he would like to see as a ‘good outcome’ from our training, to which he responded with a laugh ‘not dying’.

He then went to say that he struggled with getting in and out of his TV chair and that he’d not driven his E-Type Jaguar for some years because he couldn’t get in, or out of the drivers seat.

Both challenges largely due to little or no quad (upper leg), glute (bum) or core strength. I told him what I could do for him, and the way I’d go about it…we started training the very next day.

Did he moan, grumble and carry on like a pork chop…yes

Did he make excuses, swear and resort to child-like avoidance behaviours…yes, all the time, it was hilarious

Did he continually try and make excuses to cancel…yes

Did he somehow persevere…yes he did!

Anyways, long story short, within only 10 weeks of training 30 minutes, 3 times a week, not only could he get in and out of his TV chair with ease. He got his Jaguar serviced and was tearing up the local streets.

Psychologically, he was reborn
Fall in love with the process, and the results will come.

With the challenging starting training phase now out the way, his sessions became a little more effortless because he was now able to connect the dots between exertion and results. Once the results started to materialise, his motivation to maintain his training became easier…not easy, easier!

I had the pleasure of training him for another 2 years.

Did he continue to moan, grumble and carry on…yes

Did he continue to make excuses and swear…yes

Did he try to cancel…not once.
His illness eventually got the better of him.

But that 24 month period leading up to his passing he was always, always both amazed and grateful that he was able to reclaim ‘his life’ back.

His improved strength and mobility positively impacted many other areas of his life, which meant his last years alive were active, engaged, and vital.

#rippeter

 

__________________________________

 

If you truly value your health and want to live as physically abundantly as you can till the day you drop dead, then the reality is you need to examine and take stock of where you’re investing/expending your current energies.

As I mentioned in an earlier article – we expense our leisure time into things that we value, however many of these activities are not only overly-comfort-orientated, but they are detrimental to our physical and psychological well-being. Two things that only compound and expedite the ageing process – resulting either in a quick early death, or a long drawn-out one.

 

Q: Are the bulk of your habits making your stronger or weaker?

Peace & Health
Luke
In my next article Movement Requires Strength 2, I will cover:

  • Your not overweight because you don’t exercise or go to the gym
  • 7 Strength & Fitness Tests That Gauge Your Longevity
  • 4-Minute Bursts of Intense Exercise – The Secret to Longevity?

Coming Up: 

  • Movement Requires Strength 2
  • The 4 ’S’s: Stress, Sleep, Sobriety & [P]Sychology
  • Is Blaming Your ‘Job’ Really An Excuse?
  • Reflection, Reading & Journalling
  • Satiation
  • The 4 “C”s: Calm, Courage, Curiosity & Consistency
  • Habit Strategies

 

 

 

Disclaimer: It needs to be noted and understood that what I write on this blog format must not be interpreted nor construed as ‘personal medical advice’.
The written word can easily be mis-interpreted, especially my own god-awful writing ability.
I try to emphasis, as awkwardly as I do, that I have no skills, training nor studies under my belt to advise or diagnose when it comes to medical or psychological conditions.
If you need professional help or advice then please seek it.  
My own advocacy is shot primarily through the prism of my own life-experience. I only promote lifestyle and the related choices and habits that optimise sleep, mindset, nutrition and physical strength. All incredibly powerful and profound methods to improve all aspects of one’s own health-wealth, but potentially not the remedy ‘proper’ for those individuals that may require professional clinical diagnosis, medical intervention and/or treatment.
Peace
Luke