When it comes to driving change in your body, short, daily routines can lead to a sizable impact compared to one long session on the weekend.
Your body likes to be exposed to a manageable stimulus often if it is to drive change. A massive stimulus (ex. long weekend session) is going to have a back-burner effect at best.
Think about your current state of health (or lack thereof). Did you arrive at your current state overnight? No. It was more of a gradual morph over time. This also means you're not going to get out of this state overnight. Change takes time and a daily approach to change will help drive long-term change.
General Adaptation Syndrome
To better understand this, let's look at the General Adaptation Syndrome model.
When you start a new training cycle, chances are your body is entering an "alarm" state. It almost feels like you are in a bit of shock as your body struggles to figure out how to manage this stress on your system.
After the initial shock, your body starts to cope with the new stimulus, and the second phase of "resistance" kicks into gear. This is where you hit a pivotal crossroad. The stimulus is either manageable enough that your body can process and evolve or too intense. This is why proper management of training volumes is so critical throughout life.
Managed: If all is good and you had the right amount of challenge, your body adapts and progresses to a new level of ability.
Too Intense: Eventually, your system will hit exhaustion and you will dip into an overtrained state. Illness and overall decreases in energy can be a result of this.
Now let's circle back to the concept of daily deposits versus long warrior sessions once a week. Daily deposits focused on your health and performance work just like a deposit of money you put in a savings account. Over time, that money gains interest. Managed daily movement deposits do the same thing!
The Daily Checklist
Here's what I have found to be most effective over the years for athletes of all ages. This is a lifelong routine I recommend completing on a daily or near-daily basis. It helps keep nagging aches and pains away and allows you to enjoy more progress compared to regress. You don't have to strive for perfection, I challenge you to just get a little better each day. Strive for the small step forward versus the leap. This is how you play the long game when it comes to your health, training, and performance goals.
Foam rolling or trigger point work helps decrease the density of your muscle and increase range of motion through affected joints (D'Amico, A; Gillis, J. 2019). Training and injury increase muscle density. I'm sure you have seen pro and con headlines when it comes to foam rolling. For a while it was all the jive and then it became the evil stepchild. Use foam rolling to get rid of the "knots" you are feeling.
Before you jump down my throat for this one, I want you to think about Bruce Lee. In his prime, would you say that Bruce could produce force and move with speed? Absolutely! He also static stretched a fair amount as part of his daily rituals. Static stretching is effective in increasing tissue length (Nelson, R.; Bandy, W.). Also, when paired with a dynamic warm-up, static stretching does not harm performance. I spend about 30-minutes each evening static stretching. It helps me wind down from a busy day and helps me work my flexibility. The key is to not overdo it. Give a few areas of your body some love during each session and move on.
The final step of your daily movement checklist is to carve out some time to focus on quality movement. I like to do this during a little dynamic warm-up. This gives me a chance to hardwire the previous two sections of the checklist. Movement is the way your body makes a new skill a strong habit. Here are some of the main movements I aim to mix into a daily dynamic movement practice.
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Outside of movement, I can't stress this one enough! Hydrate! If you are not actively tracking your normal water consumption, you're missing out on the ability to perform at your best. Even a 2% dehydration level can affect your cognitive performance.
Want a starting point? Use this formula to get a ballpark of how much water you should aim to drink during the day.
Daily Ounces=(Bodyweight (lbs) x 2/3) + 10 ounces for every 30 minutes of structured activity