Far from the old fashion clichÃ© yoga classes where pan pipes and dolphin noises are played alongside meditative movements (asanas); mindful exercise is now widely accessible; put simply it is movement which applies skill, focus and learning, all of which may offer a combination of powerful outcomes for your brain and body.
Traditional exercise systems such as Yoga, Tai-chi, Martial Arts & Zurkhaneh, are all mind and movement journeys where you learn skills, attain greater level of concentration and focus all while building strength and conditioning of the body and mind.
TRX can be used as a Mindful Training Tool enabling you, the user, the capacity to achieve the awesome Mind Body combination and its numerous associated health and fitness benefits.
Let's take the TRX single arm squat to row as an example:
This complex whole-body movement requires you to achieve skill-based learning of the exercise.
MIND MUSCLE RECRUITMENT
The exercise also requires your body to recruit not only a large portion of the muscle skeletal systems (motor recruitment) but also your bodies vast surrounding collagenous network of fascia (mechanical energy). Specifically the TRX single arm hip and knee extension to row required your posterior oblique sling (see here).
Once you have learned the TRX row squat skill and practiced it repetitively, your memory stores this new skill in the BRAINS filing cabinets - the cortex.
MUSCLE & FASCIA
Regularly training the skill will build the associated skill base along with increases in your strength, conditioning & fascial function (see here).
As your skill, strength, fitness and fascial resilience improves so does the ability to progress either more complex variations of the skill or greater resistance loading. TRX training utilises loading and de-loading through body weight training in conjunction with the TRX allowing you to manipulate load in various ways: ie through body angles, by utilising single leg varieties, adding external loads.
MINDFUL EXERCISE SYSTEM
Now apply this to a wide arsenal of multi directional - fascial training TRX movements and you have the ability to create and play with the TRX as a mindful movement training tool.
Photo credit: @mromg @eva.esspresso
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MINDFUL MOVEMENT?
Exercise has been shown to support the production of the powerful BRAIN protein BDNF or Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor.
BDNF plays an essential role in synaptic plasticity/learning and memory and promotes the survival of the cells transmitters - neurons. It is worth to note at this point that fascia has more sensory nerve ending than even muscle (see here) - may this further connect your brain to your muscle?
EXERCISE & BDNF
Fascia aside, research indicates that Mindful Exercise may promote BDNF more effectively: "BDNF is produced and released from neurons in response to excitatory synaptic activity that occurs during physiological processes including learning and memory and exercise" .
Well it seems that the mindful movement concept may not be as abstract as we once thought and with more and more interesting research emerging on its physical and phycological benefits from improving mood and reducing perceived stress, right through to improving exercise adherence - mindful movement may cause pause for thought on whether it is worth adding into your regular workout schedule in conjunction with strength and cardiovascular training. I for one will continue to practice yoga, throw some weights about, play on my TRX and drag myself out for a run once per week!
Gideon J Remfry MSc
Wellness Director @KXlife & @KXU
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