We all know that we should make time to workout. Being sure to find the right exercise routine that is beneficial to your body and current health status is extremely important. And I bet that you also know that most people don’t get enough regular exercise, if any. Of the limited amount of individuals who are active, those who visiting the gym or hire a trainer is because they:
When I exercise, I go into the activity ready to workout. Unfortunately, most people go to workout and don’t get the results they were hoping for.
But it’s not just exercising that is important, but the “non-exercise” physical activity too!
In other words, there is another form of working out that is just as important, working out the inner, or “working in.”
Working in has powerful effects on restoring optimal health, vitality and wellbeing.
There are 4 common reactions to stress: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Each of these can drain your energy leaving you with limited excess to workout. Adding a vigorous exercise to an already drained body will more than likely add further stress.
By vigorous exercise I mean something that is truly physically taxing on your body. A light or moderate workout might not fall into this category and can be very stress relieving, immune boosting and mind clearing.
So, by adding a vigorous exercise routine onto an already taxed body (emotional, mental and spiritual) it has the potential to cause you more harm than good.
The difference between workout and work in are simple. Working out overall has the ability to further drain your body, while working in cultivates more vigor leaving enough energy to stimulate and fortify your body’s healing process. Work-in exercises switch off your fight or flight stress response and focus on your parasympathetic system allowing for rest and recovery.
There are many ways to decipher if you need to focus your energies on working in. An easy way to see what type of exercise is right for you is to first think about the physical activity. Does the idea of working out make you tired just thinking about it? If so, then your body-mind is sending you a very important message that you should pay attention to. Therefore, when your body is sending you a message to not workout, it is at the same time requesting you to work in.
A few words of caution: It’s easy to fall into the trap of laziness when thinking about working out verses working in. But the fact is if you truly don’t have the energy or drive to workout, chances are your body is not ready for the additional stress working out can have.
Personally I’ve had moments where I felt my body was telling me that I needed to work-in. Instead of not doing my originally planned workout, I started with work in exercises and then transitioned to working out. Working in put me in the groove to be able to workout, feeling 10 times better after exercising. Therefore, it’s about not only listening to your body, but also knowing what you need to do for you.
So, if you’re body is telling you to work-in, you will be much better off starting your exercise with work-in movements.
How to Work In
All work-in exercises should be performed at an intensity that allows:
A few Work-in Exercises
How often should you perform work-in exercises?
20-30 minutes each day is the goal to strive for. However, if you only have 5 minutes in the beginning, that’s wonderful. Make time whenever you can, such as during breaks at work or before going to bed when your mind is tired (this will help you fall asleep with more ease too!).
Positive aspects of performing work-in exercises:
Once you start to feel better and more able to handle the stresses of working out, you can combine working in with working out. Remember, once you feel better, don’t forget about incorporating working in into your daily routine as it is an important aspect to minimizing the body’s fatigue, pain and/or injury.
Finally, when you are ready to workout, depending upon your health and fitness goals, consider how intense you workout. Strength training is a very important and positive workout regimen, especially to anyone over 40 years of age. On average, the body loses one pound of muscle every year after the age of 40. Around this timeframe, the body’s ability to produce sex hormones begins to slow down. This leads to a loss of muscle mass and strength, among other things, and an increase of poor muscle tone and weight gain. 30-45 minutes of strength training three times per week does wonderful things to balancing out the hormonal system.
Finding the right workouts and work-ins are important for your overall health. In addition, providing your body with the right nutrients and energy by eating what is best for you, drinking plenty of water, getting appropriate sleep and taking time to relax and enjoy your life.
I always love hearing from you. What is your favorite work-in exercise that you engage in? Or is there one that you have your eyes on and willing to try in the near future? Let me know in the comments below!
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Hello, my name is Stacy Peterson, Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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