Training for General Health: 6 Components
Updated: Sep 11, 2018
Many people focus on one area of fitness to the exclusion of all others. Maybe cardio is your thing, maybe you're a yogi or perhaps you are a dedicated swordsman.
Wherever your training preferences lie, it’s important to understand that using different types of training can be beneficial to your primary focus (and your overall health), pretty much regardless of your health or fitness goal.
When writing programs for people or recommending sessions to supplement a client’s personal training program, I recommend they dedicate time to each the following areas:
Improving your ability to move through a full range of motion will benefit you regardless of what you’re training goal is. Mobility training can be done anywhere (home, gym, garden etc.) and there are so many different ways to improve mobility. Static and dynamic stretching; foam rolling and bodyweight exercises are a good start.
Tip: focus on your hips and shoulders, everything else will follow suit.
Challenge your mind! Try an activity that requires you to learn movement skills i.e. engage in something that has some sort of mental component and requires you to be aware of the way you're moving.
Some examples of 'skill' training are: Jiu-jitsu, gymnastics, rock climbing, salsa dancing, Muay-Thai, technical sports, Olympic Weightlifting and Twister.
Often skill training will have some form of strength or endurance component and thus is a great way to combine a physical and mental challenge.
Low intensity exercise plays a key role in recovering from more strenuous exercise and is a good way to keep the cardiovascular system ticking over. Casual cycling, hill climbing, walking the dog and anything else where you are moving but not gasping for breath are great ways to get outside, breathe in some fresh air and get the blood pumping for half an hour without worrying about sets or reps or weights or plates or dates or tax-rates.
Intervals, hill sprints and metabolic conditioning circuits are a great way to lift the intensity, pulse and breathing. Make these sessions short and sharp. Use low skill exercises (exercises that aren’t highly technical) and push yourself appropriately.
Strength training has so many benefits whether you are a young pup or have the longest tooth in the yard. Stronger bones, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues are all good things for human beings, regardless of age, as is building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Lifting weights is the most obvious choice for strength training but you can also improve your strength and build muscle using bodyweight exercises.
Training should be fun regardless of your training goal, but it's particularly important if you are training for general health and well-being.
If you enjoy your training you're much more likely to stick to it. Training with a buddy or as part of a group is a really good way to increase the fun factor of training. All of the above forms of training can easily be done in a partner or group setting!
Including strength, mobility, high and low intensity cardio and some form of skill practice in your weekly training will stimulate your mind and body and lead to a healthier you!