Don´t forget to stroll
“No pain no gain” or, “Push your Vo2 Max”. Energetic, goalseeking people tend to keep the pace up in their active life. Managing both a high workload, familyresponsibilities, and pushing your level in sports is often a common trait in high acheivers. Pushing yourself and reaching goals is naturally very satisfying.
But it is harder to see the pitfalls when you are at high speed. This is true in sportactivities, but also in life itself.
Keeping the intensity at the right level over time is a balancing act. A balancing stick has two equal lengths on each side of your center of gravity. As an analogy, one side is high intensity, but what is on the other side? we´l take a look at that in a little while.
The intensity side contains several aspects. The concept of continoues overload is paramount to increase capacity in anything physical. The system, neural and muscular, needs to be stressed to keep developing. If not, it will plateau and you will see no gains in capacity. To set goals, and doing the work required to achieve them is a big part of what motivates many active people. And a goal is allways up there, at the next level so to speak. Goals, stretching your perspective, and evolving, are concepts that is unique to being a human, and can be one of life´s richest pursuits. So why is the other side of the balancing stick so important. The answer is easy to understand as an analogy, the other side of the stick is there to keep you in balance.
Balance is an even more fundamental principle than the principle of increasing workload. In order to stay balanced physically, and mentally, we need to lower the tempo from time to time. This might scare some, but fear not.
The challenge is that for a performance seeking athlete, high intensity can become addictive. If you are not exhausted, then you really have´nt done anything usefull, is the paradigme. But a calm and easy stroll on your bike or by foot can be very rewarding. Avoiding burnout is a complex subject, but activities at low intensity is an important part of the equation. It is refreshing for your mind and body to just “be”. Walking or biking at slow pace, thinking thoughts of what you are gratefull for in your life, hearing the birds sing. There is a lot of freedom in not feeling the need to perform all the time.
So enjoy the moments when your at full speed, but don´t forget to stroll once in a while.