Slow Fitness – by Ste Kane ‘Movement & Maintenance’

Slow Fitness

…. the use of our intelligence quite properly gives us pleasure. In this respect the brain is like a muscle. When we think well, we feel good. Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.

Carl Sagan

Hello Gang, Happy Friday!!

Today I would like to introduce the concept of slow fitness. Urgency has infected almost every aspect of our daily lives, accelerating, and obscuring our most primal needs and instincts. One obvious casualty of this acceleration is our relationship with food. Today’s food is not only fast, but almost instantaneous. Just as we see the effects of the fast life on our eating practices, we see similar effects on our movement and exercise practices. Similarly, we are afflicted by fast fitness, a desperate rush to achieve weight loss or gain, a desired appearance and athletic performance. Like fast food, fast fitness can result in a host of negative consequences including distorted relationships with our bodies, overuse injuries, obsessive competition and paradoxically, an epidemic of exercise avoidance and health problems. It’s important to know that slow fitness is a way of life and not a training technique. The specifics of your exercise are not important, whether you swim, cycle, cross-train, or power-lift don’t matter much. What’s important is your outlook on your movement practice. If you’re training for the long-term, you are practicing slow fitness.

Do these claims sound familiar?

  • “Get abs in just 10-minutes!”
  • “Get rid of that excess weight fast!”
  • “Build muscle in just six weeks with this new program!”

Whereas slow fitness claims would suggest:

  • “Develop a long-term healthy relationship with your body!”
  • “Discover health and fitness gradually over the course of your lifetime!”
  • “Manage your weight by practicing regular movement consistently!”

But sadly, and obviously these claims aren’t flashy enough for magazine covers.

If we practice moderate-vigorous movement on most days of the week and maintain this kind of lifestyle, then improved health, comfortability, and satisfaction in ourselves are almost inevitable.

In terms of public health, slow fitness is a durable path to improved health and reduced risk of injury for the general population. If we could savour the joys of moving effectively and consistently over the course of our lives, we could reduce the incidence of multiple health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and heart problems by an enormous measure.  

Not only that, but slow fitness is a powerful tool aiding in the path to athletic excellence, especially at the elite level. As we know, it takes many dedicated years to develop the skills and biomechanics capabilities required to compete at world-class levels; this clearly requires sustainability. And so, olympic level coaches are becoming more aware that motivation, pleasure, and joy are essential aspects to maintaining interest, focus, and intensity when it comes to training.

To conclude, we as individuals should savour the fitness experience. We should not compare ourselves to one another on how we train or how we look. Movement is our birth right and we should demand a lifetime of play and sustainable pleasure from our movement practice. Become a connoisseur of exercise, a fitness gourmet. Taste your movements the way a food philosopher would taste a fine meal. As you’ll discover, there is a world of pleasure in movement. This is something to be appreciated. 

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