Welcome to Challenge Week! We had a multitude of intimidating workouts prepared attached to meme’s of buffed out strangers pointing at the camera telling you motivational quotes. But this is the start of Challenge Week and we are motivated to break industry standards. So let us take a different approach.
It is the start of the New Year, motivation is at an all time high, and our usual approach of taking on more than we have done the past year usually leads to a defeated body, and a frustrated mind. Or you could have already hopped off the proverbial wagon since it is already January 23… Insanity is said to be repeating the same process and expecting a different result. So if you are like many Americans who start with a sprint and end up crawling to the ice cream isle, let us change the New Year, New You approach our industry capitalizes on.
Effecting small habits is the beginning of larger, visible change. The easiest way to begin a healthier lifestyle may be easier than setting a bottom line, drop dead target weight… Instead, we challenge you to check off each of these items simple items at least once during the week ahead!
1. Foam roll in the morning - Wake up five minutes earlier than normal and get into a little self-massage. You will be surprised at how stiff joints feel better and your mind awakens. This small practice can lead to more energy and peace to start your day!
2. Park as far away as possible - How often have you been stressed when trying to find the perfect spot? That perfect spot may be the far end of the parking lot. Apply this practice in all settings (hopefully you are not running late) and you will be surprised after a couple weeks at what it can do for your health… and patience.
3. Take the stairs - Just like the car parking, this is a small increase in physical activity that does not require a large commitment, just a conscious effort. When you start to feel better, take two at a time. Nobody watching? Try jumping a few.
4. Walk at lunch - Taking a walk at lunch can get your heart rate up and your mind off the job at hand. Elicit a friend and enjoy a great conversation. Think about packing a lunch you can eat on the go to avoid a heavy midday meal.
5. Core work while reading - Wait you read? Not just books for this challenge, settle down. This small act can also be applied to cruising your social media, looking at a computer, or any studying you may have on the horizon. High or low plank, supine leg raises, side planks, or reverse crunch/boat pose are all simple postures you can switch between to challenge your core strength while focusing on content. Even a couple minutes of this a day can be a sneaky way to increase your strength and get you moving while at home.
6. Cardio Commercials - Whatever your medium for physical activity, try moving during commercials. If you are a stream only person, try an interval like 5 minutes of activity between episodes… Or just avoid TV altogether ;)
7. Posture Checks - If you have a long commute or sit at work. Staying in a kyphotic posture (hunchback) can lead to neck and low back pain. So while sitting, set a timer in your phone to remind you to reach back with your shoulder blades, open up your chest, and get as tall as possible. This small act can make you feel much better after a couple weeks if you suffer from poor posture.
8. Wash dishes by hand while balancing on one leg, towel dry overhead - Ditch the dishwasher and get to the sink. Taking on this small task sounds simple, but balancing on one leg for a length of time may get you more balance and hip strength with a small commitment. Towel drying your plates overhead will put you in a posture not often used. Feel the burn, the burn of clean kitchenware.
9. Old school cleaning - A bit of a repeat I know, but Letterman set the bar high with his top ten lists. Getting down on all fours and scrubbing the bathroom and floors with a sponge cleans better than anything out there. On top of that, you get a shoulder burn, hip stretch, and take tension off you spine when getting on all fours. Plus it is a humbling experience; we all deserve such acts now and then.
10. Stretch before bed - Last on our list, stretching before bed. Being in our high tech fast paced world, we often go to bed still carrying the day’s hustle and bustle. This can lead to sleep cycle that does not truly recover you for the next day. Getting 5-10 minutes of stretching before bed can slow you down, get you focused on breathing, and set your bodies physiology up for a better nights sleep. This ritual is easy and requires very little effort to see some real benefits.
The challenge is set! Let us know what you think, or if you have any other tips or tricks, please write them up on our social media pages for us to share.
Keep achieving your standards!
Doing what you love!
Dominating 2017 in a healthy way!
Nate Stemper, USAW
Director of MASH Performance