It is no secret that our modern world of convenience has led to a culture that is more sedentary and in a state of less health. Many of us don’t notice the subtle effects of moving less until we can’t. Some will blame getting older for the inability to execute a certain motion. Others may experience a sudden, insidious onset of a painful musculoskeletal condition (e.g. lower back pain) and be completely unaware that it evolved from years of unrecognized poor movement habits. The common anecdote to these concerns is to address the effect(s) rather than the process itself. We desire the quick fix in favor of understanding a fundamental law of nature. Nature thrives on chaos, challenge, and novelty. The careful introduction of chaos, novelty, and challenge into your life will allow your body to adequately prepare to handle future unknown challenges.
How do you condition your body to be anti-fragile?
Unlike something that is fragile, an anti-fragile object is something that doesn’t have to be handled with care; you can subject it to virtually anything challenging; such as throwing it against a wall, dropping it, doing your best to break it. You are throwing any form of randomness and chaos at it. (learn more about being anti-fragile check this out.) The question you may be asking is: “How do we create an anti-fragile body?”
Creating an anti-fragile body begins with preparing yourself for the unknown. This is accomplished by exposing your body to relative physical challenges. These challenges must accomplish the following things:
- Enough challenge/chaos/novelty that forces the body to rebuild itself stronger.
- The challenge must be in a specific amount of intensity.
- There must be enough time for your body to recover after the challenge.
Example of creating an anti-fragile state within your body:
In order for you to have a strong body, you need to have a strong heart. It is like working and overloading your muscles; training your heart is done in a similar way. It is done by challenging it.
If you walk the same distance at the same pace every single day, your heart grows accustomed to this distance and pace and never needs to do any extra work… until the day comes when you are chased by a bear, or white water rafting, hiking through some mountainous terrain, or having a stressful day at work. These events introduce too much challenge/chaos/novelty too quickly and boom, your cardiovascular system has been over taxed to the point of failure and the onset of a heart attack.
Compare this scenario to putting your heart through an anti-fragile routine: run at a faster pace, a slower pace, up hills, down hills, sprinting, walking, hiking or any other form of physical challenge. Using this type of conditioning, your heart can no longer predict what is going to happen next, so it adapts by building itself stronger and more resilient.
Now that you have been introduced to the premise of being anti-fragile you must determine what you need to do next. Before taking the necessary steps to create an anti-fragile body you must consider what your physical goals are over the next year to 5 years, to 10 years from now. Are you currently investing in your physical health? What are you doing to improve your physical health? Are your current interventions conditioning your body to meet your physical goals? How much do you move throughout the day? How are you moving throughout the day? Can you get in and out of chair without discomfort, without some kind of assistance? The body is designed to move in six different directions (forward/backward, side to side, and twist side to side). Are you able to move your spine in these directions without pain/discomfort? Are your ranges of movement full or limited? Are there certain movements that you wish you could execute but for some reason cannot?
Having a clear sense of what your “physical” conditioning goals are gives you a target to strive for. Knowing your purpose gives you a clear path that will help to inspire and motivate you to focus on the process of reaching your goal. Once you have established what your target is; you are ready for the next step. In this case, to learn some basic guidelines to the creation of an anti-fragile body. Stay tuned in, and learn how you can begin your journey