One of the best things about being back in Northern Virginia is listening to country music in my car.  After almost 10+ years overseas I have never found a country radio station outside of the USA.  Living abroad has provided us with so many fantastic opportunities, but sometimes it’s the little things that really make you appreciate home.  So I was driving the other day, and the song “The Bones” by Maren Morris came on the radio.  This is a great song.  If you haven’t heard, its basically about the importance of having a good foundation…” when the bones are good, the rest don’t matter…the paint could peel, the glass could shatter…I know any storm we’re facing will blow right over while we stay put….the house don’t fall when the bones are good.” This is really a universal message when your literal or figurative home is built on a strong foundation, it will help protect you from the elements.  When your relationships are built on a strong foundation they can withstand conflict, loss, and external forces.  However, I want to talk about how it pertains to our health and fitness. Building a robust health and fitness foundation can help you to weather the storms that life throws at you.  

As I am in the middle of an international move, I can tell you with the utmost certainty that I have been relying heavily on the strong health and fitness foundation that I have built over the years.  

So what constitutes a strong foundation, and how do we shore up ours?

For me, this means that I stick to my fitness routine while also allowing it to evolve no matter what is going on in my life.  For example, this summer, while traveling in the US, my Pilates studio is packed up and literally on a slow boat across the Atlantic.  I could have used that as an excuse, but instead, I decided to focus on my Pilates Suspension Method (PSM), running, and my Pilates mat practice.  I could have used this time as an excuse not to exercise, but I was flexible and committed.  Why? Because if something is important to you (and is there anything more important than your own health?!) You need to make it a priority. 

This was easier for me because I had worked hard when I was home within my regular day-to-day routine to stay consistent with my workouts.  I know how good I feel after a good workout (endorphins are real guys!), and I know that when I am consistently exercising, my body is better prepared to handle stress, illness and lack of sleep (all of which I have faced these past few weeks).  Before you are faced with situations that are going to “rock” your foundation, you need to build it up.  You don’t wait until you are in the middle of a hurricane to put up the hurricane shutters you do it before the storm arrives.  (Now don’t get me wrong, better late than never. Don’t ever believe that all hope is lost.  You can always start for the first time or begin again even if you are in the middle of a category 5 storm).  

The scientific and anecdotal evidence to back me up is real.  Professional athletes and weekend warriors are better able to bounce back after injury because they already have a solid foundation. Mom’s who stay healthy and active before and during pregnancy are better prepared for the marathon of birth, recovery, and motherhood.  People who are committed to regular health and fitness, within their everyday routine, are more likely to maintain those routines and/or return to those routines when something like travel or illness force you to deviate from your usual routine.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Everyone benefits from exercise regardless of age, sex or physical ability.”  Exercise also combats health conditions and diseases like high blood pressure, strokes, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, cancer, and low bone density to name a few. 

What can we do to strengthen our foundation? 

My number one recommendation for strengthening your foundation is finding something that is accessible and enjoyable for you.  Running is excellent exercise, but if you hate it, you won’t do it, and that negates any of its potential benefits.  Group classes are fantastic, but if you can’t find one that fits your schedule, you won’t go.  Find something that you enjoy, and you are going to be 10x more likely to make it a priority.  When something is a priority, it becomes a habit, and healthful habits help us build strong foundations.   The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 75-150 hours of vigorous to moderate aerobic activity a week.  In addition, total body resistance and strength training (Hey Pilates)  at least 2 times a week (Mayo Clinic).  

So what can your foundation withstand?  Are you prepared for the storms that will inevitably come your way? If you’re ready to get serious about your health and fitness goals, or maybe need a little more inspiration, I would love to help so give me a call, leave a comment below or drop me a  line at lauren@laurenmarkpilates.com.