Exploring the Physical Aspect of Fitness
Physical fitness; I am sure this term means different things to different people. It conjers up memories of junior high gym class and specific tests or drills we did to determine our fitness level. Many years later, I am still amazed at how many different ways fitness is measured. To some, it is the ability to run long distances. For others, it is the ability to do “x” amount of one task and finish an obstacle course under a certain time. For most it is simply the way you look.
This, combined with good muscle tone and perhaps even the way you carry yourself, represent good fit qualities. For me, physical fitness represents one of the three aspects of fitness. I think it involves efficient movement patterns to allow the body to be successful. I feel it should be measured individually, yet have a common basis for measurement. Every individual needs to compare themselves to themselves; measure their achievements to their past experiences.
Now, I think it is great to learn from successful people around us and try to achieve results similar to other trailblazers in a particular area of interest. However, “you vs. you” ought to be the motto. I feel we, as a society, spend too much time comparing ourselves and our successes to someone else. Whether it is the money they make, the house they live in, the car they drive, the amount of happiness in their life or how fit or in shape they are. More time ought to be spent doing things that feed on our individual passions and seeing in what direction that leads us. Worrying about another’s achievements or aspirations could lead us in directions we were never meant to go and therefore could stifle potential success and happiness. What are you excited about? How do you want to look and feel? How do you measure success? Fitness? Once you figure this out you will have your measuring stick. What is the basis for fitness? This needs to be an exercise program that allows you to be successful - mentally, physically and financially. Programs that improve your energy levels, muscle and joint strength, balance and overall flexibility are a must.
This will allow you to move better, be more productive and prevent potential injuries and orthopedic problems. Early in our development, we move properly; the body and brain communicate well and questions concerning orthopedic problems or fitness levels are, for the most part, a non-issue. As we “mature,” we begin to develop poor movement habits, postures and compensations due to communication changes between body and brain. This is usually the result of daily work duties, hobbies, eating habits and bad advice or other learned information. Many exercise programs just enhance these bad habits and lead to sub-par and unwanted levels of fitness. Many begin to blame old age, lack of time and genetics as the culprits. In reality, it is ignorance… that’s right, ignorance. Before you email me and call me bad names, ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge. The biggest problem I see with clients’ physical fitness level is their lack of knowledge. People just need to be reminded of how to move properly again, like when we were younger.
I would like to “tweak” the Beach Boy’s hit song and say “wouldn’t it be nice if we were younger- then we would move so much better.” This would mostly be because we would be moving efficiently, not just because our body is “newer and fresher.” Re-setting the nervous system is done by moving in three planes of motion, (i. multiple directions), and working groups of muscles (muscle synergies) vs. isolated muscles. It is also important to work on balance, (one leg, reaching with arms or legs outside of balance comfort zone and exercising on different surfaces) as well as working through your available muscle and joint range of motion. Full-body, multi-plane exercise routines will stimulate the brain for improved movement patterns, posture and injury prevention. I cannot finish this article without mentioning the benefit of weight loss with this type of routine. Increasing energy and metabolism (due to nervous system stimulation and improved muscle mass and strength) will aid the weight loss enhancement.
Proper fueling or nutrition will, of course, help with weight loss and ideal weight maintenance. This is best achieved with portion control (portions size of fist per item) and protein to carbohydrate ratios (2.5 grams of carbs for every gram of protein). Keep sweets, fats and oils to a minimum. Your body will operate in proportion to how you train it and how you feed it; therefore, why not teach it to look, feel and perform how you want it to… take control of your physical fitness. “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.” -George Bernard Shaw Copyright 2006 John Perry ZZZZZZ .
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