Motivation Nation

Helping motivate your staff and their families to exercise more is well worth the effort.  A healthier workforce is more productive, misses fewer days due to illness, and comes to work with fewer ailments.

No single exercise regimen is perfectly suited for everyone.  A critical component of a  successful exercise program is keeping people interested.

It is important for people to incorporate balance into their exercise regimen.  Gunnar Peterson, Personal trainer to the stars, describes the balanced approach as similar to the 4 wheels on a car.  If three tires on a car are properly inflated and one tire is not, the performance of the car will suffer; the same is true for wellness.

Peterson’s “4 tires” are:

  1. Aerobic Training- jogging, biking swimming, running, exercise bikes, Zumba classes or spinning.
  2. Resistance training- Strengthening muscles helps the metabolism.  Strong core muscles help align the spine which leads to decreased incidence of back related pain.
  3. Nutrition- Following a diet that leads to healthier and positive long term changes
  4. Rest and Recovery- Getting appropriate rest and relaxation is an underappreciated aspect of wellness.  The exercise breaks down cells in the human body, which needs time to repair and recover strength.  The key to a successful exercise regimen lies in the body’s ability to heal itself more than the exercise itself.  In addition, getting eight hours of sleep lowers stress, which contributes to a number of ailments.

There are a wide variety of exercise regimens that people can take advantage of in order to improve their health.  Most people can participate in walking, jogging, swimming, playing tennis or running, but there are a few fringe exercises I think might appeal to those looking for a new exercise to motivate them.

Kettlebell workouts have been growing in popularity in the US since 2001; it was originally developed in the 1700s in Russia.  The Soviet military has used them as part of their physical training and conditioning since the 1940s.   It is a great exercise regimen that strengthens core muscles, increases flexibility and gets the heart pumping.  Melissa Beliveau, owner of “Fitness with Bells” in East Providence describes it as “Kettlebells are a one bell, 30 minute, core focus, total body workout, including strength, cardio and flexibility.  It can be your entire workout regimen or added to any other training to maximize your goals, whether they are personal or sports related.”

Zumba Fitness is an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party that’s moving millions of people toward fun, and stress relief. It’s exercise in disguise.  A local Zumba instructor, Mena Rebello, says “You don’t have to have rhythm to be part of a Zumba party; you just need to want to dance and have fun.  Any movement is better than not moving at all!”

Martial arts training can be a great way to gain confidence, burn calories and learn valuable methods for self-protection.  Krav Maga is a martial art that was developed by the Israeli Defense forces as a way to teach the whole population of Israel for self-defense if (and when) war comes to their country.  Mr. Garcia, a local Krav Maga, dojo describes Krav Maga in the following terms:

I believe there are a few reasons why Krav Maga has become so well regarded within the adult fitness community.  One is the incredible workout you receive.  You see, Krav Maga believes that in order to be effective in Self-Defense – you must be in shape.  It would be a tragedy if you had to defend yourself – and while you were in the process of protecting yourself and or your loved ones – you ran out of gas!  All that training and all that knowledge would be wasted. 

I believe most adults want to be in great shape – the problem is they haven’t found something that captures their attention and passion.  Krav isn’t for everybody – but there seems to be a great majority that loves the pad hitting, aggressive nature of Krav Maga. It not only teaches effective self-defense – but also gives you an incredible workout.  

The other aspect of Krav Maga that peaks most peoples interest is the feeling of being a part of something big.  Being able to learn what the military and Special Forces are taught taps in the mystical side of Martial Arts that leaves us all feeling a little like a super hero!

The point is to encourage employees to find an exercise regimen that best suits them.  If they like to run…run.  If they like to dance, try Zumba.  If they want to find a way to better defend them, try Krav Maga.  If they want to tone up their core muscles, which leads to decreased back pains, try Kettlebells!

“Any movement is better than not moving at all!”

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