I do a lot of detective work trying to uncover the mystery of exercise. Like diet and nutrition, there sure is a lot of information wielding hard body celebrities selling exercise with their star power. It has not been easy to get an understanding.
More problem is most people around me hardly exercise, and many of them have felt exercise a waste of time.
Every time a “healthy” person died, my circle of influence immediately pointed out how exercise certainly didn’t do that person much good. They died anyway.
Well, there is truth in this statement. People die. Can’t change that.
But exercise didn’t do that person much good? Here is where I begin unfolding my life’s exercise mystery. I discovered exercise may not add days to your life, but it sure can add life to your days
All I needed to do now was figure out just what kind of exercise I should do.
I had tried exercise plenty of times earlier in life. Most every time I didn’t follow through for a long time. Either I would become discouraged, distracted, or simply felt that the whole concept too overwhelming.
It is easy to understand how these feelings can happen.
Exercise has become big business. And with any business, there is a tremendous amount of marketing driving products and product placements. Look in on any media outlet and you often find exercise commercials showing us how it is done.
The fact is there really is no exercise that will not work, provided you do it with some regularity. So, if I were to sign up with a particular program, I would want to make sure I could stick with it at least six months. Maybe longer.
I like to mix up how I exercise every year.
I first started exercising by riding a bicycle. And in the beginning, it was the same old story. I rode it for a few weeks then packed it away in storage. The bicycle I chose to ride was a very simple one. One gear, a steel frame, a seat, two wheels, and handle bars. This thing was heavy, and so was I.
When most people think of exercise, they often have only a vague sense of how the human body responds. I know I really did not consider how my body reacted and adjusted to exercise when I started, and maybe if I had a more in depth understanding of it all I would have found more success earlier.
To be sure, most people, including myself, do not begin the idea of exercise with the notion of training to enter body building competitions, marathons, or iron man competitions. Maybe, but mostly no.
However, a good understanding of the how exercise functions to train the body is handy knowledge for anybody wanting to improve fitness levels. Like anything, knowledge lets intelligent conversations and considerations take place. Too often, because a person has no understanding of exercise basics, frustration, or even worse, injury, occurs making a counter-productive attitude towards fitness.
We will look at a few topics of exercise, including muscular, aerobic, and how training works with muscle groups and the cardio-vascular system to get your body humming. First though, let’s have a look at how your body and exercise work together to train the body and improve overall fitness.
Thirteen principles make up current thought on exercise training and its influence on body development. Adaption, Readiness, Response, Overload, Progression, Specificity, Variation, and Periodization, Warm-up and Cool-down, Long-term training, Reversability, Moderation, and Potential make up the list.
Adaptation: let your body move into its next level gradually, do not force activity or you run risk of injury.
Readiness: a certain amount of maturity, both physiologically and psychologically, affect your ability to train. As adults, our bodies are mature enough to enter exercise, but psychologically we may be lacking for any number of reasons.
Your response to exercise: everybody’s body reacts to exercise individually. Heredity, nutrition, rest, sleep, and overall level of fitness factor into to this response. The goal of exercise is to improve your response to activity and increase your body’s level of fitness. The effect will vary with each individual and within everyone’s day to day training.
- Overload: Overload does not mean pushing yourself beyond safe limits. Instead what it means is gently exceeding your norms and doing so differently across time. Variation is an important thing when it comes to quality exercise and the goal of fitness. Adaptive mechanisms eventually set new habits as the norm and the body gets less and less improvement. Varying the activity forces the body to continually adapt to new muscle and aerobic levels.
- Progression: Gentle progression through your body’s adaptation to overload should follow an incremental approach. A good rule of thumb is to think of the acronym FIT…Frequency, Intensity, Time. Working with the amount of sessions per week, the intensity of the sessions, and the time of each session allows the body to progressively adapt to new fitness levels.
- Specificity: Specific exercises, whether aerobic or muscular, will train the body in specific ways. Setting specific fitness goals means looking at specific exercises to attain those goals. For those seeking to advance to even higher levels of fitness scheduling time with a qualified personal trainer may be an advantage in targeting a specific purpose to exercise and training.
- Variation: Boredom is often the biggest kill-joy of exercise. Looking for different a variety of ways to keep your body and mind engaged helps eliminate the feelings of staleness and boredom. Not only do you need to mix up your sessions, you also need to give yourself ample recovery time. Keeping a healthy look at what you are doing and letting yourself bask in the rewards and recover from hard sessions will make for an attractive attitude about keeping in the exercise groove.
In a future post, let’s cover the rest of the topics. For now, look for an exercise you like to do, and do it a few times a week. And don’t think that simply taking a walk doesn’t count. It does.SCHEDULE A MEETING