Inner strength is something that most people struggle to find. But you don’t have to have experienced tragedy or hit rock bottom to develop it.
It’s important to surround yourself with people who build you up and are positive energy sources. Avoid people who drain your energy and make you feel down.
1. Warm Up
The warm-up part of your workout isn’t just about getting your heart rate up and stretching. It prepares your body for the physical demands of your exercise, reduces injury risk, and helps you feel better during the rest of your workout.
During the warm-up, you can perform dynamic movements and drills that mimic some of the movement patterns of the exercise. These will help to increase core body temperature, muscle elasticity, and blood flow – while mobilizing the joints and increasing neural activation.
Inner strength is often found in pushing yourself to do things that make you uncomfortable. These can be anything from talking to a stranger or singing in front of people to climbing a mountain or memorizing 100 digits of Pi.
When you’re sick, stressed or anxious, breathing patterns change to accommodate the need for more oxygen. That’s not a bad thing; it’s an adaptive emergency mechanism.
You can train your breathing muscles to improve performance by practicing a few simple exercises, such as abdominal breathing and pursed lip breathing, used by pulmonary rehabilitation specialists for individuals with respiratory disease. These techniques are low-impact, easy to do and can provide a host of benefits, including lower blood pressure and reduced muscle tightness.
Another great way to train your breathing muscles is to perform what’s known as exhale pulsations. Inhale slowly through pursed lips; then, forcefully exhale, narrowing your body, as if blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Do a few reps of this breath work between workouts and you’ll see a difference in your performance.
3. Strength Training
Regular strength training — or resistance exercise — can prevent the natural loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging, known as sarcopenia, and improve balance and bone density. It can also help you feel more confident and sleep better.
The best strength exercises involve multiple joints of the body and work many muscles at once, such as squats or push-ups. It’s important to start small and build up gradually so that you don’t get injured.
People who have a chronic health condition or illness should talk to their doctor before starting a strength-training program. They may recommend a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist to design a safe and effective strength-training program. This includes people with diabetes, obstructive pulmonary disease and some cancers. It’s also important to check in with your doctor if you experience pain during or after a workout.
4. Endurance Training
Strength endurance training focuses on high repetitions, heavy weights (close to your max) and short rest periods. This style of training has been shown to increase both muscle mass and strength-endurance, especially with prolonged training (8 weeks).
It can also help decrease injuries associated with endurance sports, such as overuse/muscle imbalances. This is because the stress of lifting heavy loads helps muscles/tendons/bones adapt to the repetitive load of endurance sport training.
However, what constitutes endurance training varies from person to person. For example, a cross-fit athlete might consider working up to a 10-minute jog as endurance training, while a former college runner may think the same is not true. Therefore, a good strength coach should be able to build a program that is specific to an individual’s needs.
You’ve heard in the rooms that recovery is a building block process, that each day you have an opportunity to add to your reservoir of strength. It can be in small ways such as putting yourself on a daily schedule, mapping out goals and assigning priorities to those items.
It can also be in larger ways such as compassion for an ailing family member, choosing to speak words of kindness and avoiding people who tempt you into using again. Your trainer can help you set short- and long-term health goals based on where you are now and where you want to be in the future. These will serve as the foundation for your growth in inner strength. You’ll be amazed at the results! Added bonus: it’s free.