Guest blog Courtesy of Joanne Dowds MISCP
To get better a running, you need to run, but that’s nearly too simple. Mixing in strength training helps prevent injury; speed training helps built towards the finish line. But what if there is a third way, trying something new or unexpected with unknown results; innovation. If you are happy with the results you are getting, doing the same thing will practically guarantee the same results. If you are not happy, change. Moving away from what is difficult or towards what it is easier. Innovation exploring the unknown solution. Innovation- change but more than change; new, different, thought provoking, creating more effective results… better solutions that meet new requirements…
My internet wandering, points to a few different ways to innovate. There is a school of thought that you are the combination of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so for me, its work bods, friends and then it’s a battle between Ray Donovan and my phone for fifth place. Surrounding yourself with naysayers, doubt smiths and lazybones is not a positive environment for innovation and change. It is all too easy to roll over in bed when there is no one waiting for you. It is much easier to disappoint yourself than a team or training partner. Mixing up who you spend time with will introduce you to new beliefs, thought processes and potentially help change your mindset. It is proven that fit people hangout with other exercise buffs and more importantly the opposite is painfully, also true.
In fitness and wellbeing the biggest innovation to date has been portable devices for physical activity tracking. There are so many available devices to measure or monitor what ever your heart desires- its rate, distance time, speed, stress levels, calories whatever. These numbers only matter if you care about them, if you understand the story behind the data and care about analysing it. Unexamined data is meaningless; it might as well just gather dust. The devices vary from the additional app in your ‘simple’ Smartphone, too much more complex power output devices, in whatever way you want to wear them, watches, chest straps, hair bands! The second point about data is to examine what it is you want to achieve. There is something to gain from enjoying the process, as long as the process goes somewhere, there needs to be a definite point of focus. An unspecified aim of general improvement will never be met. There needs to be an understanding of the destination, while the journey can be fluid the endpoint, what success looks like, needs to be fixed predetermined goal.
I have tried just about every type of exercise class available. I like mixing it up, pulling in different new ideas. My aim might not always be fitness specific, 10 weeks of dance classes helped to figure out how to be more comfortable in heels- always learning! Aerobics, boxing, cross fit, dance- I could move on down the alphabet but the aim is generally the same –fitter, happier better. Innovation isn’t safe, it can go wrong, you might expose yourself to ridicule (not telling you that story- sorry). It is only exercise, its ok if you come last, you can take the knock to your ego, I certainly have. Innovation requires that there is curiosity about the process while maintaining the focus on improvement towards a desired outcome. There is unknown there, you can’t predict exactly what the benefits or the required effort might be.
So taking my own advice I am going to refocus, be curious and keep trying.