Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ninja Warrior Training

Just looking at Mt. Midoriyama makes me nervous
I love Sasuke. The Japanese came up with an awesome physical test that no one was even able to finish for the first four years of the competition. Now called Ninja Warrior because of a huge international audience; we also have the American Ninja Warrior with a series of regional competitions that lead to a final round in Vegas. I've watched the show for years and every time I see a few contestants run through the course, I have to rush out to a playground to practice the moves myself. TV that motivates you to move is excellent television indeed!

Obstacle course training might be the most perfect form of physical conditioning. It taxes all the major muscles; stresses aerobic & anaerobic metabolic systems; develops coordination, agility & balance; creates body awareness for overcoming real life physical challenges; and most importantly, it motivates you to exercise because it's fun!

Finding an obstacle race is easy; training on playgrounds & "nature's obstacle course" is fun
Fitness is a multifaceted concept. I look at it as developing the physical components & skills to live a long life doing the things that make you happiest. When your body lets you down by holding you back from your dreams, you have to work to overcome the weakness (there's no quit in any of you I know). Obstacles and movement training highlight weaknesses but by maintaining a playful heart, they can inspire you to higher levels of fitness than you ever thought possible.

Running is an essential human movement, as is swimming. Goal setting & accomplishment is key to happiness--marathons and triathlons are brilliant personal accomplishments. These activities don't encapsulate total fitness however, and even can be counterproductive to developing or even maintaining other key fitness components like joint mobility, strength, agility, coordination and balance.

You also won't develop the physique that you desire by just running. You'll drop pounds initially but almost any activity will create noticeable body changes in the first months as your metabolism has to compensate for the new stress. After the initial months, our bodies adapt to the stress, it becomes a new normal and no further body composition changes occur. People also become bored with the same activity, dread working out and fall off the wagon. Incorporating obstacles to climb, hurdle, balance on, etc will keep your training interesting. Run backwards, shuffle sideways, vary speed--this will make your runs more interesting for your body and mind.
Running is an essential movement but taken to an extreme can hurt total physical fitness
Physical activity is a daily part of a long and happy life. Move in a variety of ways. Try new things. Explore!
Too much of a good thing is too much.

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