Monday, January 18, 2010

Functional training and stress relief

My life is pretty hectic and exciting at the moment. I mentioned that the New Year would mean new challenging opportunities for me. Recently I was asked to participate in ground-breaking research and formulate my findings into my Masters thesis. This is all happening quite fast, considering that it was only a couple months ago when I finished my Bachelor's thesis and have only studied 2,5 years at the University. Last week I also had a development discussion at work that revealed several interesting career path opportunities for me.

Although all this takes up a fair amount of hours (work, research, studies), I feel fortunate and stress-free. Of course, in times like these stress management skills are essential. Personally I don't think all stress is bad, for example a small amount of pressure can allow you to perform better and more efficiently than usual. However, the moment you notice that you are feeling overworked and it affects your moods daily, it is way past time to do something about it. How do you guys deal with stressful times?

My stress-fighting strategies sound simple: exercise, diet, fun. I find that my new-found form of functional training, Kinesis, has proven to be very effective. For me, it uniquely combines relaxation and releasing tension. This is because I utilize the balance boards/BOSU-balance trainer with every exercise possible. Not only does this provide an amazing way to work out your deeper core muscles while working on other muscle groups, but the deep level of concentration the movements involve allows you to really clear your mind.

Advantages of Kinesis:
+ Activates kinetic chains of muscles, not just individual muscles monotonically like conventional equipment. Resistance varies also with the range of movement and angle (as well as weights).
+ Easy!
+ The design allows you to move freely with minimal interference with the body, especially in 'push' movements.
+ Fast set up
+ Incredibly versatile, even just one machine can be used in dozens of different ways (be creative!)

Some of my favorite Kinesis movements (free video instructions)
- Core exercise with the above machine, you lie on your back and grasp one handle with each hand. Lift both feet up. Stretch your right leg, and push your left arm back parallel to the floor (away from your head). Without dropping your feet, do the same with your left leg and right arm.
- Using the equipment in the first pick, either stand on a balance board or sit on a fitness ball and extend your arms (like you were boxing). Or use a ball/balance board and stretch your arms, and then open them. You can combine this with lifting one of your legs at a time, while maintaining your balance and strengthening your core muscles.
- With the machine in the lower pic, you can sit on a ball and make a large circle with both your arms holding the handles, a "sun".

Kinesis is especially effective when combined with relaxing and empowering yoga breething techniques you breath in when moving into position, and breath out when doing the most strenuous part. This will activate more core muscles and increase strength and effectiveness.

Because Kinesis is a form of functional training (works on several muscle groups with one exercise), it saves time. Especially the movements requiring balance will activate muscle groups traditional gym equipment never would.    

My typical gym ruitine:
30min in-door cycling (interval training, 5min cycle seated with resistance, 5 min standing with added resistance)
30min Kinesis exercises as circuit training (no resting in between)

Sometimes I run instead of cycle, and sometimes if I don't have an hour I opt to cycle in slightly higher gear for 20min and do Kinesis for 10-20min. Once a week I usually run 15min for warm up and participate in a Kinesis Core class for 45min. When it suits my schedule, I also enjoy pilates and different yoga forms. Typically I go to the gym 3-4 times a week with my husband. The days I don't go, I get my minimum of 30 min exercise by cleaning, playing with my daughter, going outside with the family, etc.

I will not go too deep into diet in this post, after all all my past posts have been about diet in one way or another. Yet I will say that in times of stress, it is sometimes a good idea to indulge a little. No, I don't mean diving into a bar of chocolate or eating a bag of chips. Instead, dry making some raw chocolates (click here for an easy recipe) with your partner or friend, and sip some delicious Yogi tea. Relax and talk!

Images from:


g. said...

it's very nice to see people that like Kinesis.. which is already a discipline more than a product! thank you. For those interested in more information about Kinesis, download a catalogue etc, just visit:

best wishes!
Giovanni ciampaglia
from Technogym - The Wellness Company

Aletheia said...

Thanks for your comment Giovanni, Kinesis truly is so much more than just exercise.

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Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Technogym said...

Dear All
I'm Giulia from Technogym Italy. A quick update concerning Kinesis! Since one week we have launched the kinesis training community both for professional and end - users and where to find info about how to train with Kinesis!
In this post, please find everything you need to know:

Thanks Giulia

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