My philosophy on health and fitness
hy do you work out?
In order to look and feel more attractive? To become “strong”? For running a marathon?
All of the above?
I am not implying any of the above reasons, or any other similar reason you came up with, are “wrong”… but perhaps a bit misguided for the average person. It is just important that you know why and are you really doing the right thing for yourself.
My point is simple – unless you have very good reasons for participating in highly specialized training, you are probably better of doing more general types of exercise.
If you are a competitive swimmer, javelin thrower or baseball player of course – you should put a lot of time on training specifically for your chosen sport. Same goes for physically demanding professions.
But if you don’t have a particular need for some very specific motor skill, doesn’t it make more sense to train in ways that prepare you for, well, anything?
Yet everywhere I see people who seem practically obsessed with obtaining washboard abs (typically men), a big butt (typically women) or stamina for running across the country without stopping. And many of them are not professional athletes, just common folks who believe this is what they got to do.
Again, I’m not judging here. If you feel things of that nature are your ultimate goals in life – by all means go for it.
But from the viewpoint of lifelong health and fitness here is some food for thought I would like to add to the table.
Are amazing looking abs worth chronic and at least equally amazing back pain? Are “looking fit” or running multiple triathlons still worth it, if it comes at the expense of being able to participate in almost no sporting activities after you turn 40 (or even sooner).
We’ve all heard “no pain, no gain” and similar platitudes when it comes to exercise. And sure, if you want to become the best at anything you will have to practice hard. But even then it is not wise to do so at the expense of your health and well-being.
If you are an “average” person, exercising in ways that are ultimately detrimental to your health are, to put it politely, very unwise indeed.
An exercise program which doesn’t strike a good balance across a training cycle creates adaptations in the body which change it’s shape in a negative way.
Think of a musical instrument going out of tune. With the added imaginary that this time those out of tune strings don’t just sound terrible – they actually warp the shape of your entire instrument!
With your body every exercise will create tension in one direction, which must eventually be balanced with another exercise which balances it in the functional opposite direction. In practice it is not as complicated as it sounds – provided that you do the due diligence of scheduling it appropriately.
Personally I have found a very good method of doing this, one that has helped me feel a lot fitter now than I did when I was in my early twenties and thirties.
Yet, I actually put less time and money on exercise than I did when I was younger. Some of my workouts literally take only about 15 minutes to complete and you can do it at home!
Do what makes sense to you and what is good for you.
Where there is a will there is a way.
Love, health and wisdom