Today, the market is flooded with so many types of group exercise classes. It’s difficult to know what is good for you and what you should avoid, what is ‘healthy’ for your body and what might hurt it. There’s yoga in its many forms, including flow and hot yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, boxing, strength training, and spinning classes. There’s mom & baby and prenatal classes, running groups and learn-to-run clinics.
What is the right choice for you?
Your training should change with your body and life situation. If you are coming out of an injury, pregnancy, or trauma, your practise should support your recovery. Hitting the trails may bring on the sweat you are craving, but it may not address an underlying need for support, restoration and healing.
Does your body talk?
Yes it does. And if you can hear it and respond, you will train more efficiently. For example, if you want to run a marathon you should attend running clinics. But if you experience repetitive injuries during your training, your body is telling you to add variety to your activity.
To know what your body needs, you need to learn how to listen.
Often, people assume that if their body talked to them, they would hear it—if your body told you when to stop, when to slow down or when to adjust your lifestyle, not only could you hear it, but you would listen. As a child, you had this natural connection to your body. Did you become disconnected somewhere between childhood and now? What if you lost your connection and don’t even realize it? What if you no longer speak the same language and miss the signs?
Many injuries occur from closing off the channels of communication with your body.
You may believe your body isn’t talking. You may have become disconnected from it as a coping mechanism, or because your mind drowns out the signal. Maybe a jarring accident shocked your nervous system, and you don’t know how to begin again. Whatever the reason, it can feel foreign to shift your focus inward and listen to the signals your body is sending you.
Before any injury your body communicates warnings to you. You may say that your stiff neck ‘just happened’ or you ‘just woke up with it’. Before things become painful, your body sends you suggestions and signals.
Your physical body is constantly changing and regenerating. Our brain’s neuroplasticity is a crucial tool in keeping our body vital. This is only if we feed it and challenge it. Too much repetition and your body gets numb. Too little movement and your body feels static. The intelligence of your body needs to be challenged. Not just physically, but interconnected through its various systems. This goes beyond your physical body and into your body awareness.
The body (integumentary, muscular, nervous, skeletal, respiratory, lymphatic, circulatory, endocrine, urinary/excretory, reproductive and digestive) is interconnected with your mind and heart. Integrated movement allows these systems to talk. Avoid any movement that makes these systems tighten or short-circuit. Your practise can and should support this connection.
Integrated movement is restorative. It is the practise of strength, power and integrity at the foundation of every successful performance. This is movement that supports your whole life. For you that support may come during a tennis match, singing or public speaking.
Your body remembers. Your body talks. And when you move in a way that honours this language, you will reap the rewards of your body’s intelligence.
About Riikka Wilson
In my post natal recovery I was shocked to find that there was very little in the way of support. My first child was born in 2008, and my second child a year and a half later in 2010. My shock came because I was an experienced Pilates instructor, and in 2003 deepened my understanding in exercise physiology and personal training.
Having trained many post natal women I knew many of the supports were in place for new moms. None of the methods that were available at up to this point helped me. My focus turned to the complexities of the postnatal body, pelvic health and functional movement.
Today, I find creative inspiration from conversations, movement and people that nurture each other. I believe that each day holds the potential for awakened movement, and this movement should be accessible to everyone.
To find out more about Riikka and integrated movement, you can go to her website www.riikkawilson.com.