There’s a ton of fitness noise in the wellness industry – but there may be more to the body than fads tell us so far. It’s all too common to see people slave away at exercise routines that leave them feeling fatigues, listless, and weight fluctuating. Let’s go deeper – what can we do to make sure exercise serves to make us stronger, balanced, and sexier?
1) Love your spleen
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each organ’s meridians control different bodily functions and physiology. The spleen is the organ that controls the muscles. TCM considers the spleen as a digestive organ – it is also responsible for your ability to digest and assimilate food and digest emotions – an imbalanced spleen often leads to anxiety and over thinking. It determines how your body digests experiences, like how it responds to exercise. Often weak spleen energy may result in a weak muscle tone. You may work out every day only to find your muscles barely develop, or you may find you lose tone after a couple days of no exercise. This is not how your body should be! In order to nourish spleen energy we must nourish our earth energy. Focus on grounding foods like root vegetables and yellow / orange colors like sweet potatoes and carrots. Watch out for pensiveness and worry. Visit an acupuncturist and see if your spleen meridians need some unblocking. A strong, healthy spleen will guarantee better circulation and muscle tone. Say goodbye to unnecessarily long workouts. Get your body back to an efficiency maximizing state.
2) Gas exchange is key.
Many times, people don’t get results form exercise due to poor oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in the body. Your muscle cells NEED oxygen to move and grow, just like we need it to breathe! If your body is lacking adequate oxygen levels, you can focus on foods that increase your ability to uptake it. Chlorophyll rich greens and red juicy beets are key – restore, anyone? Chlorophyll and beetroot have been proven to increase oxygen uptake and transportation within our bodies!
3) Watch the stress levels.
Many people fall into the trap of more exercise = more weight loss. This is so not the case. Excessive amounts of repetitive movement get the body stressed and confused. For example, running was initially an instinctive response to danger and threat – when our ancestors were chased by big animals, the running instinct kicked in as part of the ‘fight or flight’ response. If we constantly force our bodies to run when there is no danger, the stress response eventually raises cortisol levels in the body – an environment where digestion, metabolism and weight loss are virtually disabled! Efficient exercise does not need to be repetitive, long and exhausting to the body – rest is just as important a part of the routine too! Make sure to take at least one rest day per week!
4) You can have it all.
The key to an efficient exercise ‘program’ is variety. That means, less of a program, and more spontaneity. You can enjoy yourself everyday and get results. Make dancing all night your cardio one day and mix in some strength training the next – keep it simple. Try more things and let your body explore different pathways. Some days you may feel like bashing out intervals with 100% of your effort, other days you may need to stretch and breathe for an hour. The more you stick to other people’s programs, the less in tune with this ebb and flow of what your body needs. Cut your workout times by learning more about your body so you can make each exercise more efficient and productive – the body is not designed to be on a treadmill for hours in order to stay in shape!