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The MSP Fitness Index is a monthly blog post covering the extracurricular things both Michael and Taylor have been reading, listening to, processing, or just really digging at the present time. As MSP’s Head Coach and Assistant Coach respectively, Michael and Taylor trust this month’s Index will be insightful, transparent, and inspiring as they share glimpses of what’s going on between their ears.

Michael:

What’s YOUR Oasis?:
Recently I’ve been sharing some personal journey “stuff” around my challenge with having had to re-learn how to enjoy time off. If you missed it, check out my Relaxing is Hard Work post.

Mobile-worker-stress-managementNow that’s all well and good, but what about the day to day? I hope I’m not the only one who finds themselves deep in the daily grind and a bit overwhelmed and overworked. So what do you do? It’s one thing to have a fancy-free full week off as you ease into that lazy boy catching up on Luke Cage while enjoying a cold one, it’s something entirely different to be in the moment of crazy and have a means right then and there to help you survive.

For a while I’d kid and joke at my wife suggestion to set a timer to literally force a break. But as many of us married folks know, in the end we come around and realize that our partner always seems to have brilliant advice and we’re just a bit slow to believe it, or maybe stubborn…NAH…I’d just say slow.

So what’s YOUR Oasis I ask? What in your life temporarily takes you away from all of it and recharges you? Now I have a caveat, this needs to be an easy, quick to access, and short in overall duration because that spreadsheet isn’t going to populate itself.

calgonFor me it’s music. I have over 25 years as a professional drummer, and music always takes me away. When I’m buried up to my ears in “To-Do’s”, I make a point to allow myself a window to decompress, traveling to a distant place where it’s just me and my tunes. It’s wonderful, potent, and works for me.

What works for you? If you’re not sure play with it. Maybe it’s as simple as setting an alarm and getting out for a short walk and some sun, or playing with your cat, dog, iguana, or pet chinchilla. In the end it’s about what works for you, and that’s all that matters…that it WORKS for you!

I leave you with this, a song from Joe Bonamassa, an absolutely brilliant artist who helps make me forget that there is anything but beauty in the world, and that life is great! Enjoy.

Taylor:

Flow Series and Movement Play:
Participants in our adult group fitness classes know all too well my insistence on the use of basic calisthenics to warm up or even condition. Like Pavlov’s dogs, they start sweating in anticipation when the word “crawl” makes its way onto the whiteboard, rolling their eyes at me the whole time (you know who you are). When fitness as we commonly interface with it blossomed back in the early-mid twentieth century, calisthenics were foundational to how early wellness pioneers understood human movement. However, I fear we’ve lost a little of that good, foundational approach to moving.

Left, left, left, right, left!

Now I’m NOT talking about the return of mass coordinated stretches like those you might’ve witnessed in a 1960’s gym class. No, to me that’s a little Orwellian, but I do think we should lean into the larger concept of calisthenics; that is, utilizing gross motor movements to take our joints through their complete range of motion while under control. In doing so, we circulate blood and other important fluids around the entire system. This is important before your workout, but also mandatory for recovery. Additionally, we fire motor neurons when we move, activating key pathways for the physical and mental work to come. Lastly, through movement we’re increasing mobility and flexibility. All these causes of basic movement are conduits for improved performance, improved quality of life, and increased longevity. Sound like a list too good to be true? Why do you think they’re calling stagnancy the new smoking?

So what does this calisthenics/flow stuff look like? I’ve been heavily influenced by Max Shank on this topic. He’s got plenty of info out there, along with a handy YouTube video showing you ways you could start implementing your own flow, movement play, or calisthenics into a regular practice. I went ahead and filmed a basic version I’ve been using in my own morning routine or pre-training warm up. Draw some concepts, add your own flair, and have a ball with flow series!

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