Sport apps are good. But our body’s own communication system is the best…..Apps connect us with so many different types of people, exercise experiences, places, health tips, which is mostly beneficial. Sport technology enables us to monitor our improvement, put metrics to our efforts and gauge everything from sleep to adrenal fatigue to wattage burned. But the missing link is always coming back to your raw, authentic communication with your body. I think only until we can develop that fully, will the apps really have an impact and allow us to contribute to the health of our complete self; health and body. Tapping into how we feel on and off the trail, bike, and gym, is the info we need to fully be in ourselves, to sustain energy, to live a moving, healthy life. Following another’s formula isn’t going to work. Not for the long run. We need mentors, coaches, trainers, training buddies, but following anyone’s sole advice to generate your own map can eventually lead to over training or injury.
Spending time alone, in your body, in that silence, pain, and reward; knowing what pains to listen to and how to respond, gives you priceless information and internal metrics that can't be replicated. Knowing what fatigue is, what your heart feels like when your sympathetic nervous system isn’t fully recovered, are tools you can carry with you anytime. Yes, that is so readily tracked on ample apps, but figuring out yourself what that feels like, and what the consequences are, is powerful information. Sustainable health.
I’ve used a lot of software and devices in my training. I’m the type who’ll obsess over Strava, and even keep my blood labs in the car to study at stop lights. Testing my HRV 4x a day and HR dozens. In my teenage years, I would weigh myself 12-25x a day. So, I’m tentative about what and how I use technology to judge myself, and overrule my ability to be accepting, patient and focused. Useful and necessary in some cases, but tech is only thorough in conjunction with training naked (sans tech) to connect deeply with your body’s ability to convey and deliver message- so you understand when you're tired, injured, stressed. From that info, you can use those indicators to respond and shift your course. I've been in plenty of different states when I wouldn’t stop thinking about metrics and became so anxious, I found myself overtraining and brining on injury.
Everyone works differently. If we can understand our bodies and minds before and simultaneously while using devices to inform us of our conditions, we’ll have a complete system to negotiate health. Understanding what it feels like to be over trained, or to be moving at a certain pace, or effort, or heart rate, is critical to your survival. We need to be tuned into our bodies constantly. What we do off the bike, off the trail, is almost more important than what and how we’re training. How we manage our heart rate, stress levels, nervous system, has more of an impact on training miles. It is what delivers us to training, the start line. Our state of nervous system is the condition upon which we will be able to perform or not.
As we like to measure everything. We’re so busy measuring our15 minutes of meditation, we never arrive at meditating. Then, we head back into our anxious minds, destroying our efforts. Finding a way to control the nervous system throughout the day/night provides the baseline from which you can exert. Recovery is everything you do when you’re not performing. Recovery isn’t just a 60 min. yoga session. It’s most of your life. Finding calm and breathing through stress in work and life is what’ll provide you with high performance in the field.
Connecting with my body has saved my life. Disconnecting has almost cost me my life. Apps have literally saved my life. Apps have brought me deep into the combat with stress almost like weapons, making me so hyper aware of my HRV or HR or quality of sleep, that I couldn’t get out of monitoring. Everything.
Dependency on tools can go either direction. Finding support with in any way other people who understand the healthy relationship with technology helps. Having backup support always is relevant, critical. Knowing there are people who can help you find a way to listen more closely to your body and use tech with respect give you a framework, a balance.
Devices are fun, social, make moving more playful for some people. My thoughts are 50/50: alone/app. Going out on your own, device-free, alone, for the specific purpose of listening to body cues, is foundational. Really this is the core of movement, before structured 'exercise'. Then, start building a training schedule that enables tools, devices, social, entertainment. Just know yourself, know your limitations. Following other’s direction because they’re your mentor, role model, or they just look good, won’t get you their. You need your own blueprint. It’s like growing a plant from seed, or growing it from a partially mature plant. From seed, you’ll nurture it’s total growth, and once it acclimatizes to your ecosystem, it’ll take off, thriving, knowing it’s being taken care of; it isn’t stressed. Buying a partially mature plant will struggle because it was raised in a different ecosystem and has to recalibrate. It may never grow more, just stay alive, and try to survive. Working from the core, the raw information will give your body a trusted source to communicate with so it doesn’t have to stress too long.
Finding the foundational network of nerves and cells through raw movement teaches your body adaptation, growing new neuropathways- Qigong, dance, yoga, walking, moving all possible directions, climbing, swimming. All of it; trusting that information will give you closer connection to how your body needs to move at this moment. We change, we can grow more mobility, more strength, and strength is about mobility having access to more types of muscle fibers and neuropathways. Then, you can flow any direction. You feel good when you’re in that flow, you’re not stressed, you need the activity and you recover very quickly.