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Building a resilient body


We live in a world that thinks of weight - or load - as being unsafe. Especially if we’re in pain. When we’re in pain, we tend to avoid anything heavy.


But load, used wisely, stimulates growth and recovery. In fact, resistance training doesn’t just grow muscles - it lubricates joints and helps maintain bone density.


To understand how important load is, we can learn from a strange experiment that took place in the late 1980’s. Scientists were trying to work out what was possible, if conditions were absolutely perfect. They constructed a giant biosphere, in which they grew trees, vegetables, all kinds of plant life. The temperature was controlled. The soil was fertilised for perfect growing conditions.


And so the trees grew rapidly, protected from the outside world. But then a strange thing happened. When the trees got to a certain height - they fell over. Scientists quickly worked out what went wrong.


Trees need wind. Wind stimulates trees to grow reflexive, supportive bark. Without it, the trees grew heavy and overburdened, eventually falling under their own weight.


In many ways, we make the same mistake with our bodies. In our sedentary society, we look for things that make our life easier. Less labour, more rest. If we’re in pain, we subtract even more movement from our life, thinking that rest is the best medicine.


Humans need some load to stimulate our core muscles. Otherwise they get lazy, and can’t help hold us up against gravity. Our posture shifts out of alignment. We notice more aches and pains, not less.


It’s not that you should start doing bicep curls immediately, but it is worth looking at how you feel about load. If you’re scared or avoidant of weight, it might be worth exploring those instincts.


Resistance training is a great way to invest in your body. It’s not about going from the couch to a fitness class. It’s about building resilience, slowly.

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