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  • Alison Synakowski

Life is an athletic event

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Life is an athletic event.

Believe it or not, our daily activities are not that much different than a high level athlete. Yes they are at different LEVEL, but the basics remain the same. A term “primal movements” is often thrown around to identify the movements that make up a day.

We squat.

We push things.

We pull things.

We lunge.

We carry things.

We walk.

We bend.

We rotate.

There is no real difference between the squat an elite athlete does vs the squat 90 year old does to a chair but do they appear different. Are these individuals at different levels? Absolutely. The difference is one of capacity, rote strength. It is not that the squat is different. The 90 year old’s squat may have a “1 repetition maximum” of 1 rep before they are tired. The elite athlete may easily do 500 lbs or more. Still, a squat is a squat is a squat. You get my point.

Now, when we talking about training individuals - exercising, working towards a goal - If we stick to the basics principles of movement, suddenly we see that these principles do not change.

Incorporate basic movement patterns, earn the right to progress to heavier weights, and manage the load strategically to build a larger capacity.

Imagine you want to run a marathon. You start running - day 1 , 1 mile - awesome job. Day 60 - 6 miles - amazing. Day 120 - 15 miles. Day 180 - race day - 26.2 - you did it!!!! What an accomplishment.

Now, imagine you want to lift a 50 lb weight over your head - day one - 5 lbs - woof - is that only 5 lbs? Day 60 - 30 lbs - wow. Day 180 - big day - 50 lb kettlebell - boom, up over your head. What an accomplishment.

Ok - now, imagine instead of building your running you decide you are going to run 26.2 miles, or you haven’t built your lifting and you try to move a 50 lb weight over head. Silly, right? So when we have to get something off a top shelf at home, move a box from room to room that is 50 lbs - suddenly that becomes ok? Something we should just be able to do without having pain? But wait - we just decided we need to work towards that in order to accomplish the task. Load management is the issue.

As we look at fitness we know it is different for everybody - what you like, what you despise, what feels good. There is often fear involved of “doing too much” when you are at the gym. But in actuality - doing too little can give us a false sense of hope. How many people do I hear say “but I work out all of the time” in a week….answer, a lot.

Being fearful of moving weight in a gym is understandable if you try to jump right in - look at the examples above - slow cooking the process is crucial for our tissues - take your time, build the resistance. You’ll get there.

When people ask me if I think that is too much weight - the answer is with questions - how does it feel? How does it make you feel? How much are the grocery bags you carry? How much does your grandchild you want to lift weigh? If the answer is fearful - maybe we drop the weight down a little build confidence. If the answer is “wow I can’t believe I can do that” - amazing, now we are getting somewhere.

Life is athletic - squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, carrying, walking. The current W.H.O. (World Health Organization) guidelines state to get 30 minutes of “huff and puff” activity a day - and 2 days of resistance training. What type of training is that - that depends on you and your likes and motivations.

If we train people with an athletic mindset, we are preparing them to achieve their daily activities.

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1 Comment

Feb 12, 2021

Nice job Alison! I tell my patients all the time, they are athletes. The athletic event might be gardening. We talk about what we have to do in order to keep ourselves healthy, so that we enjoy the things we love. No one wants to be sitting on the “sidelines,” life is too short.

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