February 9, 2023

Invert the questions : exercise as an adaptation

Changing the question can change how we see the problem. Here are the questions we tend to ask:

* How to become fit ? 
* How to improve stamina ? 
* How to become stronger ? 
* Do I need to stretch more? 
* How do I strengthen or stretch to get rid of pain? 

Here are more direct questions:

* What kind of stresses is the body subject to when doing an exercise?  

* What happens when the body resists the pull of gravity by slowing things down as it falls towards the ground (eccentric) ? 

* What happens when the body fights hard to push away from the ground against gravity (concentric) ?

* What happens if the body just holds a position without moving up or down (isometric)? 

* How does speed or mindfulness (technique) affect what’s happening in the body?

* All activities including stretching, sitting and standing are placing demands for the body to adapt. 

* Whether an adaptation is beneficial and/or useful comes down to your capability, constraints, goals and quality of execution. 

* Suffice to say, there is such a thing as too much of one stress and not enough of other useful stresses. 

Takeaways :

* Something different is happening in our brain, spine, muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments when you subject it to different stresses. They  do not yield the same outcomes. 

* It’s easy to think of exercise as categorised into yoga, walking, cardio or strength. But adaptations don’t fall into neat categories. The body and by extension muscle does not care for branding, philosophy and personal preferences. 

* When you start thinking of exercise as things needed to be done for a stronger, more resilient and robust body you can think about why certain exercises, positions, dosages and recommendations make sense (or not).

* There are a variety of stresses that your body finds useful. Pigeonholing your activity diet to one or two forms of activity will result in the body not getting the varied stimulus your body needs.

About Adarsh

- I run a strength and conditioning facility in Chennai, India
- I work with my clients to make training and eating for better body composition a part of everyday life
- I coach online and in-person
- I design and manufacture strength training equipment for use in our strength training facility