Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm Out Of Time And All I've Got Is 10 Minutes

As a pilates instructor I am very blessed to be able to work with a variety of clients. In the 3+ years since I began teaching, the range has included high-school athletes and dancers to post-partum mothers to geriatric clients (just to name a few!). Many years ago I explored exercise regimens for myself under the auspices of a "more is better" approach. Indeed, I would get through a difficult workout, be sore for 3 days, and eventually bag the whole effort because I could barely lift my legs to get into bed. For many of these years I was concurrently competing my horses and the approach to their fitness was quite different. "Legging up" a horse is done very carefully and methodically (or at least should be) as horses have rather delicate support structures - think about it, an average 1200 pound horse distributes his weight on 4 legs roughly the size of mine!As part of the overall program, one not only focuses on strengthening the supporting joint anatomy, but also the cardio-vascular system. As prey animals, horses are equipped with rapid speed to flee perceived threats, but in feral scenarios they seldom gallop unless they are startled. The "short-burst" approach, or what this article defines as interval training, thusly, nets very effective results.

I have changed my outlook on exercise altogether in the past five years. Instead of seeking a physical ideal, I subscribe to the theory of a functional ideal, and if it is aesthetically pleasing, then that's great, but it's not the primary reason for engaging in exercise. It's to be able to reach items on the top shelf of the cupboard without incurring a hitch in the getalong! I tell my clients that 10 minutes of exercise over the course of 5 days is 50 minutes, so it does have a cumulative, sustainable effect. If feeling like 1-2 hours is a baseline commitment or else you'll just not participate, the reality is you'll spend more time being sedentary and only contribute to your declining functionality, particularly as we age.

So, with that said, I'm off to the spring wall for 10 minutes of rolldown bar work. It's been a tough few weeks of performance rehearsals that culminated with Bal Masque XVIII over the weekend. I need to recommit to my own health and practices. Get up, it's time - your life, your choice!

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