Today we have a guest post from Allison Wharley of Forecast Wellness. Allison is a Physiotherapist with public hospital and private practice experience, and 'spends ridiculous amounts of time doing professional training and reading research' so you can be sure she knows her stuff!
Topic of the week: everyone please stop flogging yourself in the name of fitness!
As I've posted on the facebook page, we're made from biological tissues, which adapt in response to the demands we put on them. To increase our fitness, we should increase those demands by no more than 10% per week, and we absolutely must build REST into our training programs.
I really wish I could now list a training program perfect for you to jump into right away, but of course that's impossible. You have to start from where you are, and I don't know where you are. And regardless of whether you're a life-long sweat-dodger or you hit the gym six hours a week, that's only a tiny part of the big picture of where you are. And it doesn't even start to consider where you want to be!
Being physically active is vitally important. It improves our heart health, combating cardiac disease which has topped Australia's cause of death list for years. It improves our brain health, reducing our risk of Dementia which is increasingly rivaling cardiac disease as a leading cause of death.
Weight-bearing and strength-building exercises also improve our bone health, and here's why we want to do that: everyone begins to lose bone density in their mid-thirties. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over 50 will suffer a hip fracture. 28% of women who fracture a hip will die within a year.
Of course there are dietary contributors to all those factors, but exercise is a major player. And what we tend to forget is that over-exercising can be as damaging as under-exercising.
Over-exercising is a risk factor for osteoporosis, right along with under-exercising. Over-exercising, especially if combined with dietary restriction, leads to low energy availability which causes our bodies to make sacrifices. The reproductive system is often effected, resulting in irregular or absent periods. That can have flow-on effects to other health issues due to the change in hormone availability.
Reproductive and bone health are the best known victims of over-exercising, but other systems and functions are also negatively impacted. These include:
- hematological (blood)
And the trick is that there is no obvious safe level that everyone can stay within. One person could be overexercising trying to improve their marathon time. Another person could be overexercising with a half-hour daily walk. It all depends how hard you are pushing during the activity, and whether you built up to that level over time.
Being active is really important, but as is so often the case, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
Start where you are (and don't think that only applies to people who aren't as fit as you). Build exercise levels gradually. Have rest days. Eat and sleep to support your recovery and fitness adaptation.
Accept that fitness goals take time. Enjoy the journey toward the goal... or find a new goal, because you need to enjoy the journey!
Thanks for joining me!
Until next time, take care of yourself and stay well,