Let’s be honest, no one really enjoys working out. You sweat, you get thirsty, your muscles get tired, you might even cramp up. But here’s the good news! All those uncomfortable signals are your body’s way of telling you that you are
- Burning excess calories!
- Building a healthy heart!
- Getting stronger muscles!
- Crosstraining for total body conditioning!
In order to understand what area of exercise will get you to your goal the most efficiently let me break it down into four areas of fitness.
Cardiovascular – Heart health. Efficient exchange of oxygen on a cellular level. Any activity that will increase your heart rate enough that will make you sweat. It can happen in short spurts or it can be a sustained elevation for 20 minutes or more. My Story: I finally got up the nerve to join a hole-in-the-wall gym back in 1982 when all there was was high impact aerobics. One song was all knee lifts. One song all kicks. I loved it! There’s no way I could do that now but boy did it hook me! Benefit: Energizer bunny stamina. Keep up with your kids, grandkids, or walking the streets of New York!
Strength – The #1 reason for admittance to an assisted living facility is because you cannot get up out of a seated position without help. Do squats every day!!! A student in my Monday night TRX class was so happy to report that she was able to take down the Christmas boxes from the attic without her husband’s help. That’s what it’s all about people!! Functional strength. Stay independent longer! Work your muscles until they are totally fatigued and then give them a day of rest to repair and rebuild stronger. Benefit: Independence
Flexibility – Have you seen an old man shuffle down the street or a big “muscle head” body builder not be able to reach the back of his head to brush his (thinning ) hair? Lack of flexibility reduces the quality of our life in major ways. Is 5 minutes a day too much to ask? Benefit: Big range of motion and freedom of movement.
Balance – The #1 reason for admittance to the Emergency Room from an Assisted Living Facility is a fall that results in broken bones. Balance and flexibility are more important than cardiovascular and strength as we age, if you ask me. Stand on one foot as you brush your teeth or peel a carrot over the sink. Benefit: Great balance, no falling, no bruises or broken bones.
So let’s shift our thinking about the uncomfortabless about working out and revel in our soreness, our thirst, our fatigue and our sweat knowing that we are improving our physical health and improving the quality of our lives.