Unfortunately many of us are picking up minor or even major injuries which are stopping us enjoying exercise and fitness, never mind all the benefits that come from exercise like: mental and physical health; still being able to squeeze into our favourite jeans we have had for 10 years; chasing after our kids, our grand kids, the dog or a bus! I feel we put ourselves at unnecessary risk by thinking that we need to push ourselves in the gym too hard or lift too heavy, employing the no pain no gain motivation to our training forgetting that we are not 16 years old anymore. Maybe we would be better off going steady but maybe increasing the volume to still get all the benefits. I call this the 75% Rule.
Take weight lifting for instance.
Rather than doing maximum lifts of 10 reps for 3 sets we could do 7 reps for 4 or 5 sets. This would minimise our risk of injury and it means that we are not aching so much the next day so we can have another productive day of enjoyable training.
Or take running.
Rather than running 4 miles we could do 3 miles, even slowing the pace down, but do 4 or 5 runs a week rather than 3 runs.
I feel by employing this training method our bodies will gradually get conditioned to the exercises and the work load. It will be easier to stay motivated as it doesn’t take so much mental effort before and during the training session and we will not be crawling out of bed in the mornings!
In a time when everyone is looking to save time and intense workouts are very popular maybe we should think more long term, change our mental energy and take more care not to risk injury which keeps us from doing the things we love.
The fitness lifestyle is often about working to fatigue, pushing hard, and when we see athletes on TV we often think that they must work so much harder than us to achieve such great results on a world stage. Often the actual case is that they just work smarter, employing more volume of exercise to get the world class results over a long period of steady progression, because like us they cannot risk injury, aches or lack of motivation.
Research into why the older generation who live in Okinawa live so long, found that they don’t eat until they are full. They have smaller portions but eat more often, giving the body less work and stress to digest in each sitting. So maybe we can also apply the 75% Rule to how we eat as well as how we exercise and live a longer, stronger life!