The Importance of Physical Activity or, My Armpits are Swollen

Well…not my armpits exactly, but my latissimus dorsi. They are, no joke, swollen. I look like a crazy, roided-out dude right now…well, not exactly…but I can’t comfortably put my arms down at my sides.

Why? You may ask. Because we started doing Crossfit. M and I had a serious discussion about cardiovascular fitness on one of our weekly hikes at the dog park. We decided (obviously) that we need to do some kind of physical activity to be healthy– eating clean 90% of the time helps, but doesn’t get your blood pumping like a nice jog. Plus physical activity also plays an important role balancing the rest of our lives– it can influence moods thereby influencing relationships, how one feels about his job, and even the food on one’s plate.

We know we should be exercising more, but how much more? And what kind of exercise? I’m starting to trust “official recommendations” less and less– how do they know what’s good for me? M and I used to go to the gym religiously–so much so that we got totally burnt out and completely stopped going. Our physical activity for the past few months has been mostly hiking with the dogs with a jog or a boxing session sprinkled in here and there.

In order to implement regular exercise, we decided a non-traditional approach would work better for us. We decided to go the Crossfit route. A few of our friends have been doing it faithfully for a few years now, and M has done it in the past. Basically, they are super intense workouts designed to work multiple muscle groups in minimal time. Here’s a great explanation from the Crossfit Main site:

“CrossFit is in large part derived from several simple observations garnered through hanging out with athletes for thirty years and willingness, if not eagerness, to experiment coupled with a total disregard for conventional wisdom. Let me share some of the more formative of these observations:
1. Gymnasts learn new sports faster than other athletes.
2. Olympic lifters can apply more useful power to more activities than other athletes.
3. Powerlifters are stronger than other athletes.
4. Sprinters can match the cardiovascular performance of endurance athletes even at extended efforts.
5. Endurance athletes are woefully lacking in total physical capacity.
6. With high carb diets you either get fat or weak.
7. Bodybuilders can’t punch, jump, run, or throw like athletes can.
8. Segmenting training efforts delivers a segmented capacity.
9. Optimizing physical capacity requires training at unsustainable intensities.
10. The world’s most successful athletes and coaches rely on exercise science the way deer hunters rely on the accordion.” 

The first workout we did (the one that swelled my armpits) was one round of 70 Burpees, 60 Sit ups, 50 Kettlebell swings, 40 Pull ups and 30 Handstand push ups for time. (I did a modified version 50-40-30-20-10, but it still totally kicked my butt…er…armpits). We didn’t time ourselves, but from the comments on the website it seems like most people did this in under 20 minutes…insane.

We are sore and blistered, but we will persevere. I know that things will be less inflamed in time. After all, it’s important for your mind, body and soul to exercise regularly. “No pain, no gain”

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