You are Responsible for Fitness

You are Responsible for FitnessYou are responsible for fitness. The fly fishers I talk to (most over 40) tell me about their weight gain, back pain, ‘tennis elbow,’ shoulder issues, hand cramps, reduced stamina, and balance. They all have ideas and opinions why these conditions occur, but few look at or mention the obvious facts.

  1. Muscles tend to shorten, tighten and decrease in range of motion with age.
  2. Beginning around age 30, the human body loses 3-8% of muscle and that percentage increases with each decade. Inactivity speeds up the process and feeds muscle loss momentum.

I suggest don’t overcomplicate the obvious. Think in the way of Occam’s Razor. The 14th- century philosopher famously pushed for simplification—of competing theories, the simplest explanation is usually the best one.   

It’s hard enough to add exercise into your life. Avoid complexities and catastrophic thinking. Movement requires muscle. If you’re stiff and achy when you move, your muscles are sending a message. “You’ve made little attempt to build me up or maintain elasticity. I’m cold, stiff, deconditioned and depleted and I can’t perform like I used to without some prep effort.”  

Science has ‘caught up’ to what the Greeks knew for millennia. “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise saves and preserves it.” Plato (427–347 BC)

It makes no difference if your pains and aches are related to aging or some chronic illness, exercise will improve any condition. Not one and done, the body will heal, repair and even rebuild with consistent, long-term effort.

You are Responsible for Fitness, Here’s How to Begin

Exercise and move more. Long, slow walks at 60% of your maximum heart rate for 40-60 minutes are optimal for stamina and overall health, but do what you can. Build stamina and overall health in small increments over the long-term. Our human body has a miraculous ability to respond to demands placed on it. As I have mentioned previously, make the effort and you will grow, guaranteed!

You are responsible for fitness, your own health. That includes a duty to get the most out of where we are right now. Use each day to move the needle. Build the best possible version of yourself.

BTW…. You are Responsible for Fitness, not pursuing, beach muscles or model-like appearances. As the post image attempts to convey, we are after ‘functional muscles.’

Resistance train. Use your body weight as the resistance. Squats, push-ups and deadlifts work large muscles to give you the biggest benefit. Burpees provide strength and endurance in one move. They are difficult, but they provide a high return on effort. If you are out of shape, do a slower version, personal to your situation. As with any movement you personalize, just keep the correct form.

Stretch from head to toe. If you can’t do the classic sit and reach, don’t dismay. It’s hard—stretching the hamstrings and lower back, two large tight muscle areas—at once. Try to sit and reach with one leg. If you are extra tight, sit in a chair and stretch. Movement is the key. Stretch—slow and steady, no bouncing—to your current ability and build from there. With consistent effort, sit and reach will eventually become easier.

Whatever part of your body aches or is stiff, exercise it and stretch it. If your hands cramp, that’s a message. Do hand exercises. If you have arthritis, bunions, or general foot pain, stretch your feet and toes.

I read about a personal trainer who works with the disabled. He instructs his clients to move whatever part of their body that moves. People who have spent weeks inactive in a hospital bed get physical therapy to help them transition back into independent living. This is how important movement is. Living independently means you are a contribution to society. No one wants to live dependently.

Creating a new habit of enduring physical activity is hard, as there are significant barriers to change. However, if we can do it, evidence shows that societies will be healthier and more prosperous. Ask about joining our Virtual Fitness Program. 

The latest research findings suggest that “billions of dollars in global healthcare could be saved by improving physical activity rates. Overall, the models estimate that between US$8.7 billion and US$11.2 billion in present global healthcare expenditure could be saved by making people physically more active, with those savings rising to between $16 billion and $20.6 billion by 2050.” Billions, that’s how important movement is.

The point is stretching and consistent movement will get your blood and synovial fluid moving and thus reduce friction. See a medical professional if you have severe, unremitting pain.

*The information herein is meant to be general guidance on fitness. It is not a substitute for consultations with a healthcare professional. Always consult a physician before making changes.

To read more about maximum heart rate, target heart rate, exercise and long, slow aerobics, download my free Quick Guide.

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