We live in a fast-paced world, trying to cram ever more things into our day. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the world of health and fitness.
Diets are sold promising quick results. Gyms open 24 hours a day. Exercise regimes are more streamlined. High intensity interval training epitomises our desire to get more done in less time.
Some of us enjoy this fast-paced way of life. We can get a lot of things done and cram much into one day. But many of us are feeling burnt out. We feel like there is never enough time. We barely register this life that we are supposed to be living. So we go faster and faster, desperate to catch up. And it doesn't work.
It's from this sense of burnout that the Slow Movement began. Its essence is simple (if not necessarily easy): Slow down! This means simplifying, getting less done and fully engaging in what you are doing.
In the context of living a healthy, active life, it means taking better care of yourself. Particularly in terms of how you eat and exercise. It can be as simple as eating a meal at a leisurely pace, without any distractions. Or taking the time to stretch properly before and after you exercise rather than rushing in and out of the gym.
But where do we find the time to slow down? Again, it's simple but not easy: Prioritise. Say no. Don't behave as though you have to do everything right this minute. It's a strange phenomenon, but it's true: The more you slow down, the more time you seem to have.
Try it out the next time you go to the gym. Clear your diary to make sure you've left yourself enough time for a leisurely workout. Taking it slowly doesn't mean not pushing yourself. It means not rushing through the present moment, with your mind always focused on the next thing on your to-do list.
Try a slow workout. Let us know what you think.
I really think it's important to slow down and take a breath. We all do so much these days and we need a break from the added stress our lifestyles put upon us. Gentle excerise helps me to re-focus.
This really interests me as I'm not one to naturally slow down - the fast pace of modern living really suits me. This is definitely food for thought as I do sometimes think I need to stop, breathe and take stock!
Humans managed for thousands of years without watches and deadlines. If we want to get the best out of ourselves in modern society we need to quit obsessive time-watching!
I did some meditation classes a few years ago. We were told to aim for twenty minutes a day. If we felt we couldn't manage twenty minutes a day, we were told we should probably aim for forty!! That was obviously tongue-in-cheek but there's an important truth behind it.
I had some physio sessions with a chap who stressed the important of correct technique and continuing until the muscles concerned felt tired - but not counting repetitions. I find that really helps as it removes the feeling of time pressure.
The world definitely needs to slow right down. We're obsessed with high speed-everything and our physical and mental health is suffering under the unnatural pressure. The irony is that it's all self-imposed. Take charge of your life, refuse to get caught up in the 'fastest is best' attitude. Life isn't a race to the finish (although if you want to be first to the finish line - be my guest!)
Slowing down has helped me to achieve a more efficient workout. It might feel like you're doing less - fewer repetitions or fewer different forms of exercise - but you actually achieve more.
wise advice - rushing is the classic cause of injury whether it is on foot, by car or exercising. Stop, think, and then do it!
It all sounds nice in theory, but I just don't have the time to slow down! I know that sounds ridiculous, but really, how can you reconcile this approach with 21st century western society?!