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September 25, 2023

Variations of a debate within the fitness community have been playing out for decades. Those variations typically feature “either, or”  arguments regarding resistance training vs cardiovascular training, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) vs lower intensity steady state training, etc.. These debates are often dominated by opportunistic marketers attempting to pedal a narrative that sounds something like, “the only exercise you need to do is ___________ ,” or “the only piece of equipment you need to achieve the body you want is ______.”  These are the circumstances in which fitness trends are born, think Aerobics, Tae Bo, Zumba, Kettle Bells, Cross Fit, etc.. And in each and every case, the latest and greatest trend is simply packaging and repackaging movement with an emphasis on certain elements of exercise.  The reality of the situation can be found in our biomechanical and physiologic evolution, which clearly points to an answer of “and” versus “either, or.” The human body is a marvel of evolution and is designed to function a variety of what used to be survival activities, and as a result, our training needs to reflect that multi-disciplinary movement heritage.

Therefore, to live our best lives as long as possible, our basic biology tells us we need to:

  • Load our bones, tendons & muscles progressively to build & maintain strength
  • Work on joint mobility & muscle flexibility
  • Work on overall proprioceptive stability & coordination
  • Challenge our cardiovascular system across multiple energy systems (easy, moderate, difficult)

Each of these categories are critically important for a variety of reasons and should be viewed through the lens of how to improve health span and lengthen lifespan. In other words, it’s a lot harder to be a kick ass 80yr old if you are not in good shape at 50. But because we as a species are no longer checking these boxes daily as part of our survival mandate, we need to seek out these opportunities in a world designed to be as convenient as possible, which often means being able to navigate the world with very little movement. Taken to its disturbingly theoretical extreme, contemplate this scene from the movie, Wall*e:

Fitless Humans (WALL·E)

The goods news is that as long as you’re alive, it’s never too late to start on a the right movement strategy for you.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is right now”

– Chinese Proverb

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