As many of you who follow Tignum know, our message about Movement (purposefully not called exercise) is clear. The body is built to move, it feels better when it moves, it decreases all diseases and depression when it moves, and it isn’t always about doing more or doing it harder. Today, Reuters reported about a landmark study, from Chi Pang Wen of Taiwan’s National Health Research Institute, that followed 416,000 participants for 13 years and looked at the impact of only 15 minutes of movement on longevity. After taking into account differences in age, weight, sex, and a range of health-related indicators, they found that just 15 minutes of moderate exercise (Movement) a day increased life expectancy by three years compared to those who remained inactive.
Once again, research is proving what we already know, but it’s great to have the scientific proof. I often tell the story of being in China and watching 60, 70, 80, and 90 year old people doing Tai Chi in the morning. Never once did I see a person with weights in their hand, a weight vest on, or a coach with a whistle (boot camp style) yelling at them to push harder, go deeper, or do 3 more reps. These people have intuitively learned that there is a huge impact to consistent fluid, calm movement.
As an exercise physiologist, I can recite for you the “overload principle” which simply states that for a muscle (or energy system) to get stronger it must be stressed beyond its normal capacity so it will recover in an enhanced state. This is proven and it has its place. If you want to run faster, jump higher, lift more weight, or go for longer you definitely have to push your limits (overload the system). But the real challenge, for most of our clients, is how can I feel better, be more efficient, improve my mental agility, be more resilient, and of course simply live longer. Even more important, how can I do that when I’m traveling across the world, working long hours, under constant demand at work, and trying to be my best at home? In this world, the key is not to add more stress into your system but to use Movement in the right doses to help you engineer high performance in your life (at work and away from work).
Like any drug, Movement has different actions at different doses. At too high of a dose it causes pain, break down of the tissue, adrenal fatigue, sleep issues, and even immune system compromise. In the right situation, with the ability to fully recovery, these high doses may be tolerated and even produce super human athletic performances. But in the wrong situation, like most of the corporate world, too much exercise (or exercise that’s too intense) will be detrimental. One aspirin a day (80mg) can help men over 45 prevent heart attack and stroke. Chronic overdose of aspirin may cause fatigue, fever, confusion, collapse, ulcers, rapid heart beat, and uncontrollable rapid breathing. The key is the right dose at the right time.
The takeaways here are simple:
_Movement should feel good
_Movement should take away pain not create pain
_Move every chance that you can
_Start most days with 15 minutes of Movement (I’ve attached our Daily Prep (pdf) to maximize your benefits)
_Use exercise at the right time, in the right dose, and always with adequate rest and recovery
_Do movements that you love
All around the world, in all sectors of business, our high performing executive clients often share the benefits they’ve experienced by doing their Tignum Daily Prep and by simply changing their habits to intuitively move more. As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences.
By Scott Peltin
Founder & Chief Performance Officer