Getting fitter, the Vala way
Want to improve your health? Need to lose weight? We help create plans for beginners, combining running and strength and flexibility workouts. Our goal is to help you find the habit of regular exercise in 12 weeks.
At some level, getting in shape might seem pretty straightforward:
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Get enough sleep.
- Push yourself when you work out, whether at the gym, in the pool, or on the track.
We also know that exercise not only helps you to lose weight and keep fit, but provides many benefits such as lower blood pressure, more muscle strength, lower risk of diabetes, dementia, and depression, to name just a few.
The standard advice is we should aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise – the tricky question here is what “moderate” means?
If you need some extra motivation, exercise classes and personal trainers are easy enough to find (and relatively affordable too), and the internet is full of tools to help you keep track of what you eat and how much you burn. All this seems pretty self-explanatory, so we might ask ourselves: how can we start to take the first steps?
Working with an expert
Whenever someone asks us “how do I get started becoming fitter?”, the reality is that exercise and fitness vary from person to person. While physical activity is an essential part of getting fit, it’s not the whole story. Which is why we always advocate working on a plan with one of our clinicians.
An individual’s fitness level depends on how they respond to activity, which is primarily determined by their genes. Vala clinicians and physios specialise in understanding how the human body responds to exercise and lifestyle. Depending on the kind of goal you want to achieve, the approach can vary. At Vala we primarily focus on two main groups of people: athletes who use our services because they train competitively, and the everyday person who wants to start, is injured or sick, and who may need our diagnosis or rehabilitation expertise.
Our team will work through an assessment plan with you to try and understand your goals and aspirations. We may even recommend taking one of our DNA tests to get under the bonnet and see how your engine can be fine-tuned.
We work as a team, which means one clinician may bring in an expert if we need to diagnose a disease, such as mitochondrial disorders, which is characterised by exercise intolerance. Mitochondria can be called the “powerhouses of the cell”, so mitochondrial disorders can result in physiological and energy availability changes for those suffering from them. No, this does not mean you have a mitochondrial disease if the inner voice telling you to kick back on the couch to watch TV usually drowns out the one suggesting you go for a jog! But it is a real thing, and quite often it needs identifying.
Exercise intolerance is measured with specially designed exercise tests and is just one way that we may help diagnose a mitochondrial disease with you.
Do we need to be still studying this stuff?
Since ancient times, humans have been exercising when running speed might have meant the difference between catching dinner and being dinner. Even in this modern era of gym memberships and Pilates classes, scientists continue to make discoveries that change the way we think about exercise.
Part of this has to do with the routine exercise studies that were previously done. Exercise physiology was not formally established as a field until the 19th century, and many of the fitness measurements used by exercise physiologists remained the same for much of the 20th century. Recent advances in technology have allowed teams like Vala to work with you in a more sophisticated way to lead to more precisely targeted techniques and treatments.
We pride ourselves in keeping up to date with the newest, and simplest techniques.
What does all this mean for me?
It may seem like new articles are published every week that give contradictory advice on the best way to get in shape and stay healthy. First, we’re told to eat carbohydrates, then not to eat carbohydrates, etc. But that’s how science works! What you need is a guide. Technology is constantly advancing, giving our clinicians access to more accurate information about how we react to exercise. Sometimes a technique that works well for some people turns out to be actively detrimental to others. The only way to figure this out is by collecting more and more data via tests such as our DNA and Epigenetics product.
What can I do?
Firstly, we suggest booking an appointment to speak to one of the team. We’ll find out what your goals are, and do some background checks. Then, we’ll work closely with you over a period of time to find out what small changes can be made so you react well to any plan or new approach to getting healthier. One way or another, you are not alone, and we can be your intelligent health partner on the journey.