“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.” -Paul Dudley White
Wellness Movement rests in the idea that we as humans are designed to move and engage in certain physical activities, and that sufficient and appropriate physical activity is essential for health. It stands to reason that a physical activity/exercise pattern that closely resembles what we would face living in the natural world including; acquiring and maintaining shelter, food, water, as well as for entertainment and pleasure, is likely to be the healthiest pattern. Similar to a cheetah being adapted for sprinting, a fish for swimming, and a gorilla for strength; we as humans are also adapted for a specific set of movements/activities. As humans, we are more generalists than specialists when it comes to activity.
What is Wellness Movement?
Yes. The key to well-rounded physical fitness is to be well-rounded with your activities. The emergence of functional fitness workouts, like the popular CrossFit, has provided an opportunity for individuals to experience this diversity all in one workout session. However, you can also obtain this diversity on your own or at any local gym nearby. Humans are made to run, walk, jump, lift, throw, sprint, and play, so a physical activity regimen that fails to incorporate all of those elements is somewhat lacking. Not engaging in any one of those movements doesn’t mean you can’t live a life of health and wellness, but to truly realize your full functional potential all of them are essential. If you find yourself to be exceptional at one particular aspect of fitness (weight lifting, running, sports, etc), there is nothing wrong with pursuing that! However, striving for some degree of balance is still important.
Should I run, lift, do sports, cross-train, or do aerobics classes?
The two are certainly not diametrically opposed, but a performance-oriented exercise pattern is not always a wellness-oriented one. It is possible to strive for peak performance in a certain activity or skill while still maintaining a wellness lifestyle. The best way to do this is employ the strategy mentioned above, which is to keep variety in your exercise routine. Even if you are primarily interested in being strong and lifting heavy weights, continue to mix in other elements of fitness like sprinting, jogging, and sports. Whether it is marathoners suffering from heart damage over the years, baseball pitchers needing shoulder or elbow surgery, or weight lifters with severely restricted ranges of motion, it is clear that smart training must be the focus for any performance-oriented individual.
Performance vs Wellness-Oriented Exercise
If you have yet to hear about chronic sitting being the new smoking I would be surprised. The sedentary nature of our daily lives spent at computers, in cars, watching movies, and the like has contributed to our chronic illness woes in profound ways. Unfortunately, research is telling us that 30 minutes of exercise does not offset all of the harm done by this way of life. We must incorporate regular movement in our day. For some this means looking into a standing/treadmill workstation, and for others it may mean a timer reminding you to stand, stretch, and walk to the water cooler. If you are lucky enough to have a fairly active and physical job, then this is less of a concern for you.
The importance of everyday activities