Forest's silence cut by sweet songs, a waterfall in the warm mountain air. Blackberries and dew, glistening like purple diamonds set in summer's ripe wardrobe even as it fades in the specter of fall. Little Horse Creek deep in the woods. The garden bursts with summer crops of corn, tomatoes, squash. A full sun warms the morn though it never gets too warm. I love getting out early and doing something physical. I always feel better when I do. Deep down, I have known that working and walking around the farm is healthier than using a treadmill. I have seen this when gym fit friends come to visit and cannot not keep up for a casual stroll.
For years I have known that getting out and working in the fields or mowing the lawn was better then a workout in a gym. I even went so far as to buy a push lawn mower for the exercise.
However I could not quite explain why. This knowing was just one of those nagging things felt, but not logically explained. Recently our son's yoga teacher Catherine Carrigan in Atlanta published this information at her website which says it all. You can read excerpts of what she shares about total fitness below:
"Here's a fact that may surprise you: The very best trainers in the world
do not ever put their clients on exercise machines.
"Those gleaming monstrosities you see in most gyms. Why? Exercise
machines create joint instability. Around every joint in your body is what
we in the industry call R-C factor. That stands for resistance-contraction.
In plain English, when you sit in some contraption and move a few muscles,
you cannot properly engage your core postural muscles. I've seen countless
clients over the years with weak, tight backs, torn up shoulders and
blown-out knees who have been under the mistaken impression that their
machine workouts were doing their bodies a big favor. When YOU work out
(now that you are properly enlightened), you want to work both the tonic
(postural) and phasic (prime mover) muscles. Since the distribution of
tonic and phasic muscles is about 50-50, if you went back to a gym machine
workout, that would be like developing half the muscles in your body. No
one would ever go to school and say, "Please, teacher, develop half my brain.
"Exercise machines create special problems for women, especially causing a
multitude of knee problems. About 80 percent of knee problems in women
could be avoided by never, ever working out on exercise machines. Women
have smaller joints and smaller nerve capsules and are more vulnerable.
"Exercise machines do not develop your body in the way you were actually
designed by God to move. Your body moves in several planes of
motion. Don't be fooled by some impressive array of expensive machines at
"Once you have avoided the rows upon rows of big machines at the gym, be
sure your workout includes seven basic movement patterns:
3. Bends if you watch yourself, aren't you always
bending to the side, towards the floor?
4. Pushes. Like a pushupvery functional!
5. Pullslike a row.
6. Twistsprobably the most important movement, and often the most
underutilized movement in the gym. You can think of twists like a catalyst
in a chemical reaction. A catalyst is something that remains the same, but
makes all other things happen. Twists are essential!
7. The gait pattern - walking, jogging of swimming."
Catherine's website is at http://www.totalfitness.net/
There is another reason (above avoiding boredom) why doing something productive is better than sweating away in a gym. This has to do with the fact that we are hardwired to achieve and moving muscles of the sake of making muscles grow so they can be moved does not cut the mustard. I learned this lesson when taking a special course from John Douillard. This course taught me a special way to make everything I do a special exercise that helped my body grow. This is why I have invited John to conduct a course here at the farm this October 3-4-5 for the leaf change. You can see pictures of the glory of this time at http://littlehorsecreek.com/
John's course changed my life in ways that are hard to believe and includes invaluable information from his best selling book, Body, Mind and Sport including Effortless Exercise: Learn how to enjoy exercise for the first time ever
- Human Potential Through Exercise: Find the eye of the hurricane in exercise and plug it into your life.
- The Zone: Make it the way you live everyday!
- Nasal Breathing Exercise: The key to mind body fitness.
- Learn How to Exercise According to Your Body Type.
- Competition Therapy: External victories will come and go but inner victories are here to stay.
Merri and I hope to see you here. Until then may every move you make become an exercise that makes you whole!