Wellness methods come in a variety of guises, yoga, tai chi and pilates to name a few.
Each of these are very different with some overlap between them, the difference between exercise and the above with perhaps the exception of pilates is that practising them will not necessarily bring benefits in line with normal ‘exercise’ namely, building strength, increasing stamina, improving endurance, improved power development, cardiovascular improvement etc..
Wellness arts however focus more on benefits such as relaxation, flexibility, mobility, balance, focus, attention based endurance, neuromuscular connection, imagery, reactions and decision making. Some people label it as woo-woo and state it’s not for them and find it a bit ‘questionable’ which is a stance I can understand as many of its teachers
and adepts speak of their particular practice as the ‘true art’ in some quasi religious fashion.
Wellness is described by the World Health Organization as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”. I clumsily call it maintenance for body and mind through considered practice.
As discussed in my previous blog here men facing the challenges of middle age start to lose muscle quicker, tend to have issues with their flexibility and have a higher risk of pain in their joints and spine. Sedentary lifestyle, poor movement patterns and normal wear and tear all come together to take their toll.
The beauty of wellness disciplines is that they provide sedentary people with an excellent gateway activity to a healthier future. Additionally those currently training will benefit from the recovery, flexibility, stability and focus these practices encourage on top of their workouts.
My top five benefits
1.Reconnecting you with your breath
Breathing sub optimally is so common that it’s the norm. Deep breathing helps us tap into the para sympathetic nervous system, when operating within this system our body is:
* Reducing stress on the internal organs
* More focused on healing and reducing inflammation
* More focused on maintenance and digestion.
2. Keeps joints supple
The data on the loss of range of motion as we age is not pretty, prolonged sitting and lack of movement results in an average person losing 8-10 cm in lower back flexibility over a life time. Pain and stiffness is strongly associated with this debilitating outcome. Supple joints means:
* Less likely to be in pain
* Less risk of injury
* More likely to stay active
3. Builds strong balance
As we age we most tend to push ourselves less and less which weakens our legs and weakens our spatial awareness. Reducing the likelihood of injuries from falling is important for everyone but especially true for us as we age. Having strong balance means:
* Less risk of injury
* More confidence
* Transferable skill for other activities
4. Strengthens hips and shoulders
The two biggest structures in the body need attention, so much off our musculature is used to control these area of the body. If we can master these areas we can ensure a strong posture that will:
* Protect the spine
* Facilitate a more youthful and confident appearance
* Prevents injuries due to poor posture
5. Helps build focus
The ability to hold ones attention is priceless especially in a world now dominated by chaotic distraction. Those athletes, great artists and thinkers that shape this world are blessed with vision and focus allowing them to complete great deeds. Strong focus:
* Is necessary for high performance
* Allows the ability to focus on tasks for long periods
* Improves ability to ignore distractions
If you also have another great reasons to train wellness not mentioned in this article please share your thoughts below.