Exercise is quite possibly one of the most misunderstood activities in the psychology of health. Whilst it’s used to lose weight, tone up, jump higher, run faster, tackle harder, stretch further and, essentially, win …none of these things are necessarily the underlying reason why you should exercise.
The former list is presumably the goal of dedicated athletes and rising sports stars. However, exercise is first and foremost a physical activity that, when incorporated correctly into an overall lifestyle and program of sensible health, will enable you to move well, with less energy demand, and generally live longer.
Gym-Fitness vs. Life-Fitness
I speak with my clients about the difference between ‘gym-fitness’ and ‘life-fitness’. You might not be bench-pressing your body weight or swimming half a length of the pool underwater, but you have important ‘everyday’ fitness when you can navigate all the activities of an average day and still have energy in reserve at the end of it for your family, a hobby or some recreational activity.
My objective for you is building a practical exercise regime into your schedule that enables you to excel at what is required of you and doesn’t leave you drained at the end of it. Only then can you perform at your peak and enjoy what you do.
Exercising Your Rights
Life fitness will not only energise your body but also your mind. It will give you the vitality to thrive, not just survive. When you’re designing your life-fitness plan, aim to achieve an overall improvement in the following attributes:
Build your overall physical strength to maintain healthy posture, injury resilience, and to work effortlessly.
Aim for greater cardiovascular stamina so that you have a surplus of energy at the end of your day — energy that can be invested in enjoyable pursuits.
Keep your joints well-conditioned for full range of movement and avoid the aches and pains that generally accompany stiffness from under use.
You don’t need to sprint through life, but picking up the pace in your activity will render you more productive and enable you to achieve greater time margin. Turn your leisurely walks into brisk ones. Get through the same repertoire of exercise in less time.
Balance and coordination can be increased with specific exercise. Energy efficiency and safe biomechanics afford less injury and better outcomes.
A dedicated routine of exercise, to improve the strength and control of the core muscles, will create improved postural fitness and movement efficiency that’s drawn on all day long.
With so many choices for activities, your exercise program doesn’t have to feel like punishment. If you are poorly coordinated and don’t like dancing, forget about aerobics. Try yoga or tai chi instead. If working up a sweat makes you feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, consider swimming, water aerobics or light stretching classes. If you are highly social and love the company of others, make sure your exercise sessions are in a group format or at least engage one other person.
A good exercise program is one that you stick with – and that involves planning. Just like the blueprint of a home, your exercise regime should be well thought out to accommodate your lifestyle and goals. Be clear about what you want to achieve and know your present condition so you can map out a safe pathway. Those who are time-poor, nervous about exercise, lazy or easily bored need a slightly modified exercise design to keep them engaged and successful.
Having a physiotherapist on your health journey is essential to help plan and exercise program and coach, advise and problem solve with an expertise that you don’t have.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Jason Smith is the founder of Back In Motion health group and author of the new book Get Yourself Back In Motion available at Back In Motion Health Group practices, major book retailers and online bookstores RRP $34.95. To find your nearest stockist visit www.GetYourselfBackInMotion.com or call 1300 MY HEALTH for your nearest Back In Motion Health Group practice.
***Article from August 2013 issue, Ultimate You Magazine***