quick talk...sleep, breathe, walk
This post is meant to be a quick call to action, Thomas Paine style, and would have been better titled "Common Sense" or "Conscious, Mindful, and Purposeful" but I would like to save those titles for a later time. The theme however will remain throughout with this quick talk about sleeping, breathing, and walking.
There are many things in life that we get to hit the "Re-Do" button on. In hindsight we can clearly see a mistake or flaw in our thoughts or approach on something and simply "Re-Do" the effort. This learning and experience saves us lots of pain, time, and probably anxiety down the road.
We LIVE, we LEARN, we PROGRESS...hopefully.
So quickly I would like to cover three simple behaviors that we can leverage to make a huge impact on the well being of our day and lives.
1) LEARN TO SLEEP- I know, you do this every night, you have what works for you, and you've mastered the art of comfort. You know your body and habits better than I do but some simple advice in this department can go a long way. With the current trend of society turning into technology zombies and the dependency of our phones being attached to our hip, our sleep patterns are taking the brunt of the abuse. I know this is going to seem crazy but try using phones and tv's less as the night goes on and your bedtime approaches. Research is really pointing to the detriment of lights and the ability of our brains to "shut down" for the night, which is essential for quality sleep. Another recent study showed that the benefits of sleep can actually be "stored" by our bodies. the study found that athletes who were consciously getting plenty of sleep leading up to an event were not as phased by the anxious or restless sleep anxiety induces as their events approached. Applying that to the modern world, if you know you have a stressful event at the end of the week start preparing for it by getting as much sleep as possible for up to nine days prior. Our bodies are capable of amazing things if we CONSCIOUSLY PROVIDE THE MEANS TO BE SUCCESSFUL. We can actually store the benefits of sleep to perform at our best at a later event or time! Keep your room cool, dark, quiet, and aim for eight(8) hours. Find a way to relax at night and develop a conscious routine to "shut it down." Which brings me to my next point.
2) LEARN TO BREATHE- I know, I know. You do this naturally without ever having to think about it. That's also a terrible reason to not think about how you are doing it. "I've always done it this way" is not a logical or sound argument. Wrong is wrong- even if you've gotten away with it for your lifespan. Breathing should be emphasized and prioritized everyday. Again, we are amazing creatures that can adapt and survive without any thought to what is keeping us alive. But, we can thrive if we become CONSCIOUS of how to maximize our potential. MINDFUL of our actions. and PURPOSEFUL with our decisions. You should constantly be checking in with your body and taking notes of adaptations. Yes, we should BREATHE with an attempt TO HEAL. I'm not trying to sound like a hippy, but if you were to start reading this whole blog over again while trying to inhale slowly and as deep as possible for for 3- 5 seconds, hold your lungs for full for a moment, and then exhale slowly for 4- 8 seconds, you will find yourself back at these words in a completely different mental state. I don't think that as creatures we have completely evolved, (or regressed if you will) so far that we cannot heal ourselves. Breathing is the first step to recovery, as well as improved performance. Try that same exercise of conscious breathing before bed for a couple of minutes...or for better focus during your morning commute to work, and again on your way home as a way to debrief your stress from the day. TRY to be MINDFUL, TRY to be CONSCIOUS, TRY to be PURPOSEFUL...you will never be disappointed with the results as everything around you slows down. And while on the topic of slowing down...
3) LEARN TO WALK- I know, I know...since babies right, and the fact that you do this everyday, no problem. You got it! BUT...chances are your posture would tell another story. Your movement quality might reallllly tell another story. The pain physically and mentally from moving could be the worst story. Unfortunately movement quality has rapidly deteriorated as work and technology has rapidly been growing. Who still moves well? The CONSCIOUS/ MINDFUL/ PURPOSEFUL call to action changes dramatically at this level. Our bodies are super intricate and complicated. which is why we need to break things down to simple levels. Balance, stability, coordination, core strength, and flexibility all have to be considered when talking about human movement. Which just gives us more appreciation of our capabilities. Do not take for granted simple things that our bodies do naturally. Pay attention to your walking stride or gait, feel your feet connect to the ground, don't let the shoes do the work for you. Enjoy the grass or sand between your toes. These senses become dull when unused, keep your proprioception high! Align you spine and hips with every step. Enjoy the recovering of posture as you move and breathe better. Slow down. Walk graciously. Smile while moving, and be courteous to nature and your surroundings.
For all 3 of these behaviors it is important to start small, track progress, take mental notes, and check in with yourself regularly. Enjoy your individual capabilities. Slow down. Pay attention. Form positive habits. Be honest with yourself about what you find. Enjoy discovery.
Nick Bendixen NASM CPT CES PES
My goal here is to inspire you to ask questions and hopefully answer any questions you may have.