Although I still have a dozen (or more) topics that can be related to Peru, it’s time to leave the Inca Trail for another day.
This fall, I joined a 12-week class on improving my health and I'm too excited to share what I'm learning to put it off. My most recent session gave me an idea that might be useful for you. It’s about muscle engagement and visualization.
When I'm preparing for a swim, I imagine absolutely everything about it: the color of the water, how cold it is, the taste of salt in my mouth. I visualize each and every stroke.
~Lewis Gordon Pugh
Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue print, and begin to build.
First, some background.
In one study presented, there were two groups of cyclists. One group biked about 10 minutes, with intense bursts of 8-15 seconds. The other group biked for 40 minutes for the equivalent number of sessions. The first group tested fitter at the end of the study.
In another study, two groups did the same exercise, and were given the same instructions for doing the exercise, "During the short bursts of intense exercise, go as hard as you can for those few seconds." The only difference was the one group was told to visualize being chased by something that would cause them to move quickly. The result: The group that visualized lost more weight.
In my class session on stress, the instructor said, physiologically, whenever we feel attacked, which nowadays is usually emotional or mental, our body reacts with the need for movement. That makes sense when we think about it. At one time, our life-and-death attacks were physical, and we needed the adrenaline and movement to survive. We still have the same reaction to stress, but we keep it inside. He suggested, if, for example, we are on a horrible phone call at work, as soon as we hang up, find some stairs and get moving. The maximum needed is two minutes.
Now, combining these ideas, picture this:
1. There is a stressful situation coming up. Our body feels fear. To honour our body’s way of keeping us safe, we need a short burst of activity. Of course, things like jumping jacks are a possibility, but what if we are in a public space. Stairs, if available are an option, or going to the washroom and, once in a stall, do wall push-ups or squats.
2. With every burst, picture being chased or in an important race, or the energy leaving the body (maybe an intense, fiery colour). Once completed, notice how the body feels, or visualize the body refilled with something relaxing, like cool blue water. or another thought that is relaxing.
3. Finish with three deep breaths and move on with your day. The entire sequence can take less than a minute, if you don’t have to first hunt for a spot.
4. A related note: In trying to remove stress, it needn’t be a visualization. It could be a sound, a tactile feeling (like a cool breeze) or a body-sense.
5. And another related note: If you can't move, try visualizing only. This works especially well if you have become aware of your body after doing previous burst sessions.
6. And a final related note: I don’t know where I’ve heard this but have heard it several times: a short burst of intense exercise (30-90 seconds) prior to or just after eating sugar, reduces the effects of sugar on the body.
7. Do you know what else only takes 30-90 seconds? Taking a people-photo (a photo that includes people). I would like to have a diversity of photos on the website and who better than people who already know InnovAID.
Attach your photos here and you will be entered to win one of three weighted animals(one hippo, one moose and one puppy). Each photo you send in gets you an entry.
Contest closes on October 31, 11:59 pm.
What if 10 seconds could make your life better? Is it worth trying? I’m going to give it a shot.
*P.S. Does anyone know if there would be the same effect if, for example, while sitting, I tried to tense my entire body for 10 seconds, then release into relaxation for 10 seconds, while visualizing squeezing out the tension and allowing relaxation to fill afterwards and repeat a few times, would that have the same effect? In other words, does barely-moving contracting muscles affect muscles as large movement?
I would love your opinion on it. So far, I couldn’t find the answer.