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AtA: The Skinny on General Movement

Posted May 24th, 2010 in Ask the Author and tagged , , , by Clint

I wanted to clarify something about “general movement” – you say it essentially helps with the recovery process from interval and resistance training, but does it really do anything on its own? I know people take the stairs and do other slightly physically exerting tasks, claiming that they’re “getting a little exercise in” but otherwise never exercise.

You specifically list
-circulates nutrients
-higher levels of activity, metabolism, and energy states
-stimulates body into recovery mode

but it just kind of sounds like vague crap to make people feel better about taking the stairs and breaking into a sweat from the effort because they weigh 400 pounds.

I understand that doing anything is better than nothing, it just seems strange to have an entire chapter on something that intuitively seems frivolous. You’re the expert though, and I don’t know dick about this, which is why I’m asking.

One thing I stress repeatedly is that it is one of several elements to health; on its own, the effects are certainly better than ‘nothing’, but the synergistic benefits reaped from combining the suggested practices are when things really get good.

For example:

page 58:

There are three different types of exercise discussed in this chapter, each a major contributor to total health and each essential in its own way.

If upon reading the book, someone only takes away “I need to walk more” and actually does it, then their lives will be better for it. Not nearly as good as if they’d actually put together more of the pieces, but certainly better. I don’t consider it to be a justification for eating a triple baconator and dying from a coronary at 34, and I believe the person who does would have rationalized their actions however they had to. I can only offer the information, not force people to take action.

That said, that wasn’t the point of the chapter. For anyone who is actually doing either of both of the other types of exercise (Interval and Resistance), they will see improvement from simple things like walking that they otherwise would not. One thing I run into constantly are guys who perform prodigious feats of strength during their workout, then literally do nothing until their next workout. Sit in a chair and read these forums, play Gamebox X360, whatever.

However, by incorporating (by example) a 30-minute leisurely walk around the park each evening, they would find their recovery, gains, metabolism and energy levels all significantly improved. Soreness would be reduced and recede faster, and they’d even be able to work out more frequently if they so wished.

Both endurance athletes and musclesharks benefit from incorporating low-intensity movement; as I said, it’s actually a form of ‘rest’ as active recovery, not a ‘workout’ that entitles one to a Peak meal (or a Krispy Kreme).

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