Do you remember your first yoga class?
I went into mine with all my preconceptions…yoga was ‘bendy’…yoga was feminine…yoga was ‘light’ exercise…yoga was slow and boring…yoga was a little bit weird! “i’m not that flexible” was my nervous ‘hello’ as i walked into the mat filled room! Apparently my Yoga instructor had heard that one before – about a million times!- and he smiled a big wide reassuring smile and said…“it’s not about that”.
He knew then, what I would come to know in time – yoga wasn’t about whether I could lift my legs behind my ears, it was about fascinating in where my body was currently at. It was an invitation to stay connected to my breath in difficult and vulnerable situations. it was exploring my body as a vessel for movement and blurring the lines between what was mind, and what was body.
This sounds like i’m bestowing yoga with magical powers, but any surgeon will tell you how freely the limbs move under anesthetic – as the central nervous system has been removed from the equation. Thus, ‘stiff’ muscles seem to be only a small part of the equation.
Needless-to-say, I left the yoga class with very different feelings from the ones I’d taken in! This was in no small part due to the Yoga teacher I’d had the good fortune to select. The role and value of the Teacher was brought to the forefront of my mind just recently when a good friend asked me to run some strength and conditioning sessions out of his shiny new Yoga studio.
I had some ‘kick-back’ when a photo of me ‘weightlifting’ was used to advertise these new classes. it caught me a little off-guard – having worked with clients in their 80’s who’s strength was literally a matter of life and death if they were were to fall alone at home. Having used weights to successfully improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s sufferers who were at a loss as how they would carry their groceries home, weighlifting just makes sense to me. It suprised me there’s such a huge stigma attached to lifting weights…and like my yoga teacher before me I found myself in but “it’s not about that”
So why weight lift? Why build muscle mass? Why come to Barefoot Bootcamp?
Having read the cutting-edge research which showed muscle in and off itself had a protective effect against alzheimer’s – not how active someone was, but actually how much muscle tone they had! Knowing every Osteopathic governing body recommends weight lifting activities to thicken and strengthen bones, knowing building muscle builds a bigger, stronger more bullet proof engine for the body – I’ll be continuing to lift weights and encouraging my clients to do the same as part of a healthy lifestyle and the ultimate quest to connect body, mind and spirit and to have fun of course!
Come and join me at my Barefoot Bootcamp and listen to your body afterwards – it will thankyou I can promise that.
Yours in strength
“Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say that high-intensity strength training produced significant improvements in quality of life, mood and motor function in older patients with Parkinson’s disease.” http://jap.physiology.org/content/early/2014/01/07/japplphysiol.01277.2013
“Some evidence suggests that exercise may do even more than boost strength and balance; it may protect brain cells from degeneration and make Parkinson’s medications work better.” http://www.webmd.com/parkinsons-disease/news/20120216/weight-training-improves-parkinsons-symptoms?page=2
“High intensity strength training is recommended as part of a management strategy for osteoporosis.” — http://www.sign.ac.uk/guidelines/fulltext/71/section4.html
“These recommendations are based on strong scientific evidence suggesting that weight-bearing physical activity plays a key role during the normal growth and development of a healthy skeleton. High-intensity exercise of short duration appears to elicit the greatest bone density increase in the growing skeleton. This information is especially important to parents, teachers and health authorities that are responsible for school curricula. A sedentary lifestyle, rather than an excessively active one, is more likely to be the risk faced by most children today” — Gortmaker SL, Must A, Sobol AM et al. Television viewing as a cause of increasing obesity among children in the United States 1986-1990. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1996;150:356-362.
This study indicates that over a 2-year period, a combined regimen of aerobics and weight training has beneficial effects on BMD and fitness parameters in young women. However, the addition of daily calcium supplementation does not add significant benefit to the intervention. — Friedlander, A. L., Genant, H. K., Sadowsky, S., Byl, N. N. and Glüer, C.-C. (1995), A two-year program of aerobics and weight training enhances bone mineral density of young women. J Bone Miner Res, 10: 574–585. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.5650100410
“Resistance training had a positive effect on bone mineral density at the lumbar spine of all women and at the femur and radius sites for postmenopausal women. It was concluded that resistance training has a positive effect on bone mineral density in women…regular weight-bearing exercise can result in 1% to 8% improvements in bone strength at the loaded skeletal sites.” Kelley GA, Kelley KS, Tran ZV. Resistance training and bone mineral density in women: a meta-analysis of controlled trials. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2001;80:65-77