Fitness (noun) the state of being physically healthy and strong (Macmillan Dictionary).
In the U.S., approximately 54 million people have memberships at some form of fitness facility. Facility owners expect about 18% of people who purchase memberships to use them consistently. Most centers need 10 times as many members as they can reasonably accommodate to be profitable.
While those who fail to use their memberships beat themselves up over not going, they fail to see all of the missed opportunities to get fit throughout their day. Generally recognized measurements of fitness include: flexibility, coordination, balance, agility, power, speed, endurance, stamina and strength.
Convenience is quietly robbing us of fitness and vitality. As our world become more remote controlled and convenient, we use our bodies less and less thus our skills slowly deteriorate day by day.
To see where we are missing opportunities to increase our skills in basic measurements of fitness, please consider the following :
- 20 minutes of treadmill time can be switched for a 20 minute walk to the grocery store, post office or relative's home.
- Taking your groceries out of your car can replace lifting weights if you have heavy bags and lots to unload. Bonus points if you have stairs.
- Sitting on the floor to pay bills, open mail, or even play cards can move your body through a variety of positions similar to a yoga class.
- Gardening, cleaning baseboards or floors can give you a nice opportunity for a wide variety of squats and working your hips.
- Picking up and playing with small children especially outdoors can give you an all over workout. It will increase stamina, strength, flexibility and all other measurements listed above.
- Setting up your kitchen so that you have to reach for pots, pans and ingredients keeps your body strong and limber.
- If you have a spiritual practice, connect prayer with a nice walk in nature.
What things can you do in your own life to increase strength and agility in your body daily? For movement to make you fitter 3 components are necessary.
1) Awareness of your current skill level. Pain and stiffness are important messages. If you choose to sit on the floor to increase joint mobility, you may need to use bolstering pillows and start off with only short periods of time to avoid injury and work your way up to longer amounts of floor time as your flexibility and form increase. Start where you are and slowly challenge yourself to make regular progress.
2) Consistency. You need to move all of your joints, muscles and entire body regularly. If you sit on the couch for years and then do an intense day of squatting, bending and pulling to rid your garden of weeds, you may end up pulling something besides weeds. To start, do a warm up routine to prepare your body for weed pulling duty and set small reasonable goals. Instead of your entire property, perhaps a smaller section over a longer time period is best. If you squat, bend and pull daily, your body will maintain those abilities.
3) Education. There are proper ways to use your body that will increase your body's fitness and there are improper ways to use your body that will hurt your back, knees and destroy your fitness capabilities. If you have any tension (and who doesn't?), it's most likely accompanied by weakness in a closely connected part of your body. Tension and weakness go hand in hand. Learning the basics of body mechanics and movement will pay off huge dividends throughout your lifetime.
I've always hated waiting. Waiting in line, at red lights to cross the street and having traffic stopped by a train have always annoyed me. The day I decided to use all of these opportunities to stretch my wrists, fingers and other parts of my body is the day I also erased some unnecessary stress from my life. Now it's almost disappointing if I don't get enough red lights because I have to stretch myself during another part of my day. Once your body gets used to this new habit, you won't ever want to let it go. If you're feeling inspired, take a look at the activities listed at the end of this email. It's all about your imagination and mindset, the opportunities are laid out in front of you.
"Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice."
- Old New England Saying
"Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach. " ~George Sheehan
"Temperance and labor are the two true physicians of man".
-Jean Jacques Rousseau
All the best,
Bodywork, Movement & Holistic Lifestyle Design
Want to take your health to the next level?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, let's talk about solutions.
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recommended beginner activity: sit on the floor for 10 minutes. Use pillows to sit on or prop up your knees to make yourself comfortable. Notice where your body feels tense and how it feels to get up off of the floor. Longer periods sitting on the floor and getting up comfortably with good form can be your new fitness goals.
recommended advanced activity: Make it a goal to never sit or stand still longer than 20 minutes. Set a timer when you do homework, pay bills, sit at a workstation or computer. When the timer goes off, switch activities, use the restroom, get a glass of water or take a stretch break. There will be exceptions but make it as rare as you can. For fun, take a look at a Japanese "Reverse Destiny Loft" in this youtube video:
It's not your age, it's your lifestyle.