Updated: Jun 8, 2018
Image of me in India, learning tradtional meditation, yoga and Earthing.
It seems that everyday there is a new super H.I.I.T. program or a hardcore “Balls-to-the-Walls Mother F@#kers” workout all over the media, and people throwing themselves full speed ahead into workouts, always trying to out do the one before it. But this is not optimal for us, and in fact we are often hurting ourselves by doing this.
Now if you are under 30 years old, best to stop reading now, cause you are still about getting “Jacked & Ripped”, so I am not talking to you right now, you haven’t learned yet, but it’s okay, you will, and this post will be here. Now back to my topic. Yes, we do need some intense workouts, but we also need to be VERY much focued on de-stress, CNS downregulation, and decompression exercises as part of our routine .
Why de-stress and downregulate?
Because workouts are stress, and your body doesn’t understand life stress, works stress, and workout stress, to your body the are all the same. They all raise C-reactive proteins, and cortisol, and all raise inflammation markers. This is why we want to do a lot of de-stress exercises and drills. Modern life has become more stressful than ever, and CV disease is the #1 killer, and stress has been heavily linked to this increase, so all that extra exercise can actually be harming you. Slow, and focused exercise also helps to downregulate the CNS and Limbic systems, which can help reduce anxiety.
All the weights we lift can cause chronic damage to the spine and joints over time. Ask any long term weight trainers, or body builders, very few over 40 don’t have sore joints, inflamed knees, elbows and shoulders. This is where decompression comes in.
Decompression exercises are commonly used for the compression we get on the spine. Think about it, having barbells on your back add weight to the spine, and this will over time start to compress the soft tissues between the vertebrae, by decompressing we can help restore these tissues, or at least minimize the damage we cause.
We can also reduce the build up of stresses on other joints to maximize range of motions and prevent them from tightening which can lead to injury long term.
How to Decompress, Downregulate and De-stress?
Luckily we can often kill 2 birds with one stone. We can use depression exercises and combine them with de-stress techniques.
Yoga is a great example of this. Many of the movements to decompress the spine are popular and basic yoga movements. Poses like the Cat/Cow, Cat Stretch, Bach Arches, Seated Spinal Twists, and Child’s Pose are excellent poses to handle both issues. Do each movement slowly, controlled and breathing deeply. I suggest checking out some beginners YouTube yoga workouts, particularly targeting back pain, or spinal health.
For de-stress, you can also do some simple guided online meditations, or use meditation apps on your smart phone or tablet. Even taking a daily walk can help a ton.
Remember, a proper exercise program should make all aspects of life stronger; muscles, joints, mood, and relaxation.