Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Born to be an every day athlete

STRETCH EVERY DAY…
It might only take two or three minutes but a good stretch first thing in the morning can make all the difference.

Everyone of us was born with the ability to be an athlete. Even if you were born with a disability you can still achieve great athletic feats.

However this doesn’t mean that every single one of us has the ability to become an Olympic athlete. We have the capability to try, but may fall short just because of our genes – damn you mum and dad!

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What we can be, and are, is an every day athlete.

Your biggest athletic development doesn’t come in your adolescent years or adulthood.

It happens between our birth until we are two-years-old. During this period, you go from being a cute little bundle of joy that can’t even lift their head to a crazy toddler that can run, climb and jump from almost anything without any fear.

When you sit back and think about it, this is an amazing transformation. Even if you think your child is not ‘developing’ because they haven’t walked at two-years-old look at what they have already achieved.

By the way, the longer you can keep a child crawling, even after they have started to walk, the better it is for their physical and cognitive development.

One thing we can do at two-years-old is squat with perfect form. Watch how any child picks up a toy from the ground.

Their bum will be close to the grass, knees pushed out, chest up and they can hold that position for a decent length of time. So where does it all go wrong?

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Every day life has stopped us being every day athletes. We are not designed to sit on chairs, drive long distances or stay
hunched over our computer and phone screens.

We are designed to hunt, run, jump, climb and hide from being hunted.

Our bodies are made to move and rest for short periods, not sit about for hours at a time and move just a little each day.

We can’t change our society but we can adapt our lifestyles to get back to being every day athletes.

Here are a few things to consider:

Stretch every day
The best time I find to do this is first thing in the morning. Head downstairs, grab of glass of water with a pinch of salt and then do a simple stretching routine that takes two to three minutes.
Try combining some yoga movements with a bit of rotation. You can find hundreds of these routines on YouTube or any decent gym class.

Get up and move

If you have a job where you find yourself sitting all day, try and schedule some breaks where you get up and move. Take a walk around the office, go speak to a colleague or go do your stretching routine again.

Train like an athlete
Get off the treadmill and move like an athlete. Invest in a good training program or personal trainer who will get you moving rather than stacking up the weights and working your muscles in isolation. You may look good in the short term but will it do anything for you when you need to move later in life.

Fuel like an athlete
You wouldn’t put diesel into a petrol car so why feed your athletic body with the wrong fuel. If you are going to move like an athlete, you need the right type of energy. Keep it simple and clean, you don’t have to start counting calories or cutting out any food groups. Enjoy your treats but like sitting for long periods try not to do it all the time.

Recover like and athlete
Don’t jump in all guns blazing, this is not a six or 12 week transformation. This is something you are going to do for the rest of your life. As you change so should your training program and it’s important to add in your rest and recovery time for both your physical and mental well-being.

Develop the whole athlete
When I’m working with teams it’s not just about developing each player to do better at their sport. For me it’s about helping them become a better overall person.
Training, nutrition and recovery is not just a sport, it’s your life. You’re an every day athlete not to win medals or competitions but to make your life better.
Instill good habits that will help you strive towards your best every day athlete and inspire others to do the same.

Read the full story in this week’s paper, available in your local newsagents today or subscribe to our Digital Edition by clicking below