Your Body is like a Machine…Maintain it or it WILL Break Down
Over the years of training and manual therapy experience,
I have found that there is a close relationship between our bodies and the machines we use on a day-to-day basis (cars, lawn equipment, etc.). Let’s say I just purchased my dream car. This car is a real beauty. Fully loaded with all the bells and whistles.
I can think of several things I would be doing to keep this car running at its peak condition: Fill it with the best possible gasoline I could afford, take it in ON-TIME for regular maintenance checkups, change the oil at the appropriate time, drive within the limits of the car’s ability, etc. As I write this list I can’t help but to find a strong comparison between how we take care of our machines, and how we SHOULD be taking care of our own bodies. Here are four ways you can maintain your “vehicle”
1. Stay Moving
This is an essential component to keep our body’s running effectively. If we’re not moving regularly, our joints, connective tissue (fascia), and nervous system lose function. This results in a decline of all our parts working together as a whole, which ultimately leads to breakdown. Examples of movement can be something as simple as getting up every hour or two to stretch and walk a flight of stairs to something as intense as training for an Ironman.
2. Fuel Your Body
Similar to the gasoline reference I mentioned earlier, our bodies respond much better to quality fuel. Try viewing food as fuel for your body, not just a comfort mechanism or social outlet. The sooner you take this approach, the sooner you’ll begin to do away with the whole “diet” concept, and seek to give your “dream car” the best fuel you can.
3. Don’t Overheat!
Recovery is probably one of the most overlooked maintenance tools in the health industry. This pertains not just to the overly active athlete, but also to the person trying to lose those extra few pounds. High volumes of pounding the road or tearing it up in the gym isn’t necessarily going to create huge results. In fact, you could have quite the opposite effect. Rest days and proper sleep are the 2 most important recovery strategies you can use as it allows time for your body to refuel and rebuild. There are definitely seasons where hard work and maximal efforts need to take place in a training regimen, but it must be followed by some level of complete recovery where the body has its time to refuel and rebuild.
4. Maintain your parts.
Regardless of the activity level, our bodies take on a decent amount of day-to-day physical stress. Any activity that we take on for prolonged periods puts physiological stress on our systems, and it requires a “mechanic” of the body to help maintain and treat it. The body is a great survival mechanism and can push through A LOT before it starts to break down. It will recruit other muscles to engage if the primary muscle action isn’t firing. This leads to huge imbalances, and ultimately breakdown. Chiropractic, massage, foam rolling, ART, Airossti, etc. are all great tools to use for maintenance as well as treatment. Unfortunately, these practices are spending more of their time treating injuries instead of regular preventative tuneups.
I hope this visual can shed some light on the importance of maintaining your bodies for optimal health and performance. We’re not too different from the machines we possess, so what if we were to treat our bodies like that dream car we always wanted?? This doesn’t necessarily mean we have the best body anyone can ask for, but rather we have a body is held in high esteem, and is maintained for longevity.