Building a 100 Year Body

We are living longer than we ever have before.

Thanks to modern medicine and scientific advancement, reaching 80, 90 and even 100+ is quite common.

One of my biggest fears is that we will live to 100 but our body only makes it to 70. We spend the last 30 years of our lives with minimal function and barely moving. Our life outlasts our body.

This make me think of one of my favourite quotes:

“We don’t stop moving because we get old, we get old because we stop moving”.

What this means for me is that in my fitness and health endeavours, I don’t only want a body that looks good now, I want one that lasts and functions for my whole life. I don’t want to just live to 100+, I want to BE ACTIVE until 100+.

Similar to a recent article I wrote, we need to focus on how our body functions and having a strong foundation in order to do this.

So many fitness programs today are focused on 2 things:
1 – an appearance/aesthetic result and
2 – getting that result as fast as possible

This speed and focus on external image often leads to sacrificing internal systems along the way.

We may look good at the beach, but this cumulative damage to systems on the inside ads up and leaves us limited in function, replacing joints, in a wheelchair or needing to inject hormones in our later years just to survive.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I want.

What I want is a 100 year body.

What I want it’s to look good AND FUNCTION GOOD until my last day!

~ Chad

The Art Of Running By Feel

Running should be simple – you put one foot in front of the other and go for it, then why is it so hard sometimes?

Today I will take you through a decision I made in college that changed the course of my running career – and how you can apply the lesson to your training today!

I was at an impasse, cross country season of my senior year had just finished and I was burnt out – school was killing me, I hadn’t pr’d in two years and I was working as hard as ever. So what did I do? I took my time off like I do every season hoping it would help me reset… it didn’t and I resumed training and resumed going through the motions.

Until one day I just so happened to forget to bring my watch with me to the trail, so I ran without it – and I actually didn’t feel miserable.

Woah! – could it be that simple?

So I kept running without a watch all week – feeling naked- until it was time for my weekly tempo, could I run that by feel too?

Yes, yes I could – I set out on my run taking it easy until I felt loose and went for it. I know what tempo pace should feel like, comfortably hard, but it had never felt that way to me when I was running my prescribed pace. That run felt different, I went ‘comfortably hard’ and didn’t worry about what pace I was hitting. Was it slower than usual? probably but I was enjoying myself more and my workouts had me feeling better than ever.

Throughout track season I was running the best workouts of my life without any of my usual blow-ups, then I went on to pr at every distance on top of finally breaking university records in the 3000m and 1500m.

The usual anxieties of always having a pace to run had left and I was feeling more confident on a daily basis.

Running by feel will take work, I had been running for 9 years when I decided to go for it! For more experienced runners like myself feel free to go for it, but for newbies and those who aren’t familiar with their paces here is a simple workout you can try!

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Step Fartlek

The purpose of the step fartlek is to be able to run at a harder pace while counting your steps instead of time, this is a nice short workout that will show you what you can do without having to constantly look at your watch.

10 on – 10 off – 20 on – 20 off – 30 on – 30 off – 40 on – 40 off – 50 on – 50 off – 60 on – 60 off – 70 on – 70 off – 80 on – 80 off – 90 on – 90 off – 100 on – 100 off – and back down the ladder.

Go out and give running ‘naked’ a try and tell us how it feels – sound off in the comments or tweet us @Anthrophysique

 

Yoga is Breathing

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If you can breathe, then yoga is for you. Yes, that does mean absolutely everyone. Avoiding yoga by saying it’s not your thing or you tried it once is like saying that you’ve tried food and it just didn’t work out for you so you’ve decided not to eat. Yoga is merely connecting to your breathe and your body wholeheartedly. Every single day. Every single minute. Every single moment. In a simple seated twist or in a challenging backbend. And, yes, that is not a ‘mere’ feat. And how you get to that place will be different for everyone. The magic of yoga asanas (the physical postures) is that they are designed to take you to this place of connection. To unlock the mystery of what is holding you back. To release the pent up emotions. The ones that are much more subtle then the overt twins of anger and anxiety that can usually be fended off by a good, long run. Emotions like shame, self-doubt, and contempt. No wonder you avoid a yoga practice. It can feel super icky. And it’s not the hurts-so-good burn of lactic acid build-up during a spin class. This is down-and-dirty, how-can-I-ever-look-someone-in-the-eye-again, kind-of hurt. But then you stay with it, you don’t avoid it, you breathe through it, and suddenly you’ve moved into a different pose/place/time and all is effortless. You feel light and powerful and grateful.

0153_130502_SalmonberryYoga is not balancing on one arm while touching your toes to the top of your head. Yoga is not sitting in lotus for hours without moving a muscle. Yoga is not folding your sweaty self in half in a heated room. And, yet, if that is the yoga that works for you, then it is. Yoga is about viciously carving out time for yourself to work on yourself outside of the physical plane. It is the time you take to connect your body, mind, and spirit. The practice you do in order to sit with yourself and your breath in silence without wanting to bolt from the situation. Without wanting your current reality to be different. Yoga works on you energetically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you don’t buy that, it doesn’t mean that yoga is not for you, it only means you haven’t done enough yoga. You haven’t fully surrendered to the possibilities, to the potentiality of really doing yoga. This is a phenomenon that you can feel. It very visibly shows up in your life through the radical as well as the minute changes that occur once you commit to your practice.

I used to run a lot. I still do. Just not as much. Running felt wonderful and cathartic and, for awhile afterwards, I was at peace. But it was never sustainable. Quite easily I would find myself jolted out of the flow and into reactive mode. Practicing more asanas, more often, allowed me to finally sit in mediation and sustain the peace. For days and  even weeks. I’m still working on longer stretches of peaceful bliss and I always will be.

Stretching & Mindfulness

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Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)

Every athlete, exerciser, active person, and couch potato can benefit from stretching and most of us stretch daily whether intentional or not. Oftentimes daily stretching becomes habitual and thoughtless. We may not be getting the maximum benefit from from this important routine if we continually tune-out. I believe incorporating some yogic principles and even yoga asanas (or postures) into your stretching routine will maximize the physical and mental benefits of stretching.

First, start with being more mindful while doing your current stretching routine. Take those standard stretches you do every day and play with doing them in silence (no music) and with your eyes closed. Instead of counting the seconds you are holding the stretch, instead focus on your breath. See how slowly you take an in-breath and an out-breath and then practice equalizing the duration of each in-breath and out-breath (count during this portion, if needed). This often has the effect of taking you out of your mind and more fully into your body which can lead to deepening the stretch.

Second, bring even more mindfulness to your stretching by taking your attention to the parts of your body that are resisting the stretch. For instance, visualize your breath reaching into your hamstrings while you are in a forward bend. Over time you will actually feel a release of tension in the body part in which you are directing your thoughts and breath. You will actually be able to feel your body let you in. Notice which muscle groups contract and which lengthen for each stretch.

Third, instead of just stretching one muscle group at a time, you can choose a yoga posture that stretches the particular muscle group you are focusing on and so much more. For example, Revolved Triangle will stretch the hips, hamstrings, and IT band while also opening up the back, shoulders, waist, and arms.

Why use this opportunity to practice mindfulness? Bringing more attention and awareness into your body can only be good for your workouts (as well as your mental health!). Mindfulness practices have been shown to slow heart rate, reduce stress, anxiety, and tension, bring clarity and creativity, and foster compassion for both ourselves and others. Bringing mindfulness to the mundane, such as stretching or dishwashing or commuting, is the perfect practice for being able to use mindfulness at times when the stakes are higher such as intimate relationships, work projects, or health issues.