So hear me out. This is the exception to our mantra. This is when slow-living actually does mean doing things slowly, or rather, taking longer to do something. I present to you: Slow Fitness.
Slow Fitness has been a growing trend in the fitness industry, since around 2017. Although it has been around since the 1990s, with Ken Hutchins, the slow fitness movement is only being embraced more recently. After the market was flooded with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), circuits, and class passes, everyone and their grandma was doing intense workouts almost everyday. However, recent studies have been shedding light on the cons of these intense anaerobic workouts: the levels of cortisol that are through the roof, leading to potentially increased stress levels, decreased sleep time and libido, and leaving people without their desired outcomes.
Obviously, any movement is better than no movement.
In this day and age of quick fixes, obsessive fad diets, and trending workouts that we do because the celebrity on Instagram that we follow are doing them, it is hard to wonder why more often than not, people are ending up frustrated, and even injured by the workouts that they are performing.
If you're a natural over-exerciser or have a feeling that you might push yourself too hard, it's always good to listen to your body and tone it down a bit. - Mindfulness whilst working out
This is why the slow fitness movement (pardon the pun) is something that could work for anyone at any fitness level. Like all fitness regimes, it has its pros and cons, but slow fitness is less likely to cause injury due to the mindfulness that is practised during movement, and the nature of the workouts themselves.
What does a slow fitness workout look like? Well, I am glad you asked! Slow fitness can be applied to both aerobic and strength training.
Aerobic training in a slow fitness workout is going for a hike, mild-incline walking on a treadmill, taking your dog for a walk, low-intensity rowing machine. Now, I know what you are thinking. I want my quick fix, sprint and be done with it. But a 2012 study showed that if you are looking to tone up and lose those last few pounds, lower intensity, aerobic exercise is your friend.
Strength training in a 'slow' manner is more what Ken Hatchins was talking about back in the 1990s. Doing slow, controlled, and mindful repetitions reduce the risk of injury tenfold and can make the muscle work just as hard, if not harder. The key is to not count repetitions, but to do the movement slowly, and with control. An example is doing a bicep curl with a dumbbell: lifting for 10 seconds, and lowering for 10 seconds. This works the muscle both concentrically and eccentrically. Shape has a great work out here: check it out!.
So, your workout date may look very different, but give it a try and see what you think! We would love to hear your thoughts on your favourite workout!
Written by Lucy Bidgood - Lund