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Too much mental activity, too little physical activity..Step 2 - Be Active

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Jul 17th 2014 - By Dr Diederik Gelderman, Turbo Charge Your Veterinary Practice
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We continue our Guest Blog series from Dr Diederik Gelderman: Take Back Your Life in 7 Steps' with Step 2 Be Active 

Mentally & emotionally we spend too much energy, yet physically we spend too little energy

The human body pulses…..

It’s our most fundamental behaviour.  When you are operating at your best all the systems in your body are pulsing in that rhythmic way.

Think about it.

  • Your heart is moving between one level of output and another, it's creating pulse waves;
  • Your brain is literally putting out high-frequency electrical activity, that’s what happens when you are awake and alert. When you move toward the end of the day, you move into a lower level of brain wave activity and then finally a very slow one called the tidal wave activity when you’re asleep;
  • Our blood pressure goes up and down;
  • Our breathing is rhythmic.

But the problem is that mentally and emotionally, we spend too much energy, too continuously for too long – like a machine or an automaton - AND we’re not machines. We’re not designed to function like that.

But conversely, physically - we spend too little energy and too infrequently.

When you spend too much energy, mentally and emotionally, without recovery you can end up in burn-out and break down mode and when you spend too little energy physically you end up with atrophy and weakness.

Isn’t that interesting? In other words, we think of stress typically as a negative, however, it doesn’t always have to be like that.

Eustress (the correct form and amount of stress) is a good thing – it pushes us to perform better. But more than ‘enough’ is too much.

Think about this physically.

Let’s say – “Oh I’m too stressed physically. I’ve been using my hands to type on this computer so much that I’ve actually got carpal tunnel syndrome”

If you think that’s the case and we say; “Oh okay - then I’m going to help you relieve your stress and we’ll put you in a cast or put your arm in a sling to give you relief from that stress.”

Well, what actually happens when we take that cast off after two or three weeks is that you are weaker, your muscles will, in fact, have atrophied.

So here is the point; the body and the mind are one, meaning they’re completely connected - they influence one another, they are inseparable and they must be balanced in a certain rhythmic way if we are to make maximal use of them.

But we don’t always allow that to happen properly – we don’t live in that way.

Let me ask you a couple of questions;

Q1 - What is the percentage of people who meet the minimum standard (from the Center For Disease Control) of recommended cardiovascular exercise?

This, by the way, is 20 minutes a day at a brisk walking pace.  So whether you do 20 minutes a day or you do more, the total needed is a hundred and forty minutes a week.

I was stunned to discover it’s actually 3.5%.  3.5% of us don’t even do 20 minutes a day of walking at a moderate phase and actually when people get to be over 60 it actually drops to 2.5%.

That’s just crazy, isn’t it? That we would not do even that small amount. So you can now see the huge battle that we are facing.

Q2.What percentage of people never exercise?

It’s actually 60%. And I find that astonishing, I find that astonishing because while 60% of us never exercise a very significant percentage of the remaining 40% (who rarely exercise) are also at a significantly increased risk of these main diseases below – purely and simply because they RARELY exercise.

So you are likely to get;

  • coronary heart disease (the biggest killer) increases by147%,
  • type 2 diabetes increases by 112%,
  • premature death increases by 50%.

Do you now have any doubt that movement is critical and essential to our well-being?

And as you can see from the ‘minimum recommended amount’ not even that much movement or that great an intensity of movement is needed daily to be critical to your well-being.

  • Not exercising TO SOME MILD degree is leaving yourself susceptible to many serious diseases and problems.

Now there are other kinds of benefits that come from moving. These are the really critical health-related ones and we’re going to share a little bit later.

But I’d once again like to say that I find this data shocking and in fact, I find it depressing.

  • It’s shocking and depressing to imagine that something so relatively easy to influence and control in our lives, most of us have for a variety of reasons not addressed.

Imagine what our lives could look like if we were getting these ‘exercise regimens’ right! I’m not thinking about this from the perspective of maximal daily ‘performance’.  What I’m thinking of here is about managing our energy.  Energy in physics is the capacity to do work and it lies at a heart of and is the most fundamental resource you need to get things done.

Energy is built up by MOVING.

How should you manage your energy? And I wanted just frame this for you in the most simple and broad terms.

Keep in mind the notion that the pulse of great performance is periods of intense effort, followed by periods of real recovery.

Intense effort and real recovery;

  • that’s true mentally,
  • that’s true emotionally and
  • that’s true physically,

One without the other is insufficient.

In other words, it’s about making waves, it’s about moving rhythmically, between spending and renewing.

Now, what does that really look like? Well, it simply means that you avoid flatlining, you avoid being too linear.

  • It’s linear to work multiple hours sitting continuously without a break or rest or without changing positions;
  • It’s also linear not to spend energy;
  • It’s linear to be sitting and to be physically inactive.

So you can be linear by doing too much and you can be linear by doing too little.

The solution to this involves one or all of the following;

  • Aerobic training
  • Anaerobic training
  • Strength training
  • Interval training

The last thought that I’ll leave you with is the concept of ‘fitness’. And I mean fitness from an emotional, a mental and a physical perspective.

‘Fitness’ builds resilience and when you have ‘fitness’ in all three of those realms (emotional, mental and physical), then your performance and productivity will be stunning.

  • BTW – I’m not meaning running a half-marathon or swimming ten laps – fitness is both a lot more and a lot less than that.

Let’s now talk about how to build ‘fitness’ into your day…..

Guest blogger, Dr Gelderman is a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer. He began coaching veterinary professionals with his Turbo Charge Your Veterinary Practice seminar, in 2004, to a small group of associates. In 2009, the seminars expanding internationally to Hong Kong, NZ, Europe and the US.

Dr Gelderman has coached and consulted with more than 350 Small to Medium Enterprises in a diverse range of industries. For more information visit 'Turbo Charge Your Practice'.

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