Try a Thighmaster?
If you spend any time watching late night TV, fitness seems to have gotten so complicated. Buy this video, try this new gear, and wear these clothes. But wait, there’s more. Drink this shake, eat this food, and follow this plan. All for one low price, if you act now. Is it any wonder that it can be hard to pull our attention away from the television (or computer) and focus on our fitness? How do you know what to do?
Not only are all of these fitness options confusing, but they also can seem intimidating. Watching the chiseled bodies perfectly performing complicated choreography, without missing a beat or breaking a sweat can be mesmerizing. Do you watch the latest infomercial and think, “that could never be me” so you don’t even try?
Fitness doesn’t have to be complicated. Fitness doesn’t have to be expensive. Fitness doesn’t have to be scary. These three ideas about fitness often keep people from exercising, whether it is at the gym or in the comfort of home. As a personal trainer and fitness instructor, my goal is to show clients that they can become naturally, beautifully and functionally fit without the glitz and glamour and without tons of equipment.
Functional fitness means better overall fitness. When you are functionally fit, your muscles have been trained work better together, which makes it easier and safer to perform everyday activities—from things like carrying bags of groceries to shoveling snow. With activities like these, your upper and lower body muscles are coordinating their efforts, so your core is engaged as well. Functional fitness incorporates multi-joint and multidirectional exercises and can be honed using body weight. A functional fitness routine, done in the gym or with a personal trainer, can improve how you perform in your daily life, making everyday movements like lifting, climbing stairs, and even sitting, safer and easier.
Keep It Simple
The key to starting a new fitness is to keep it simple. No equipment, no batteries, no DVD required. Remember, your body was made to move—and a body in motion stays in motion. Instead of relying on technology and modern conveniences at your fingertips, get yourself moving. No need for a Stairmaster or a treadmill. Take the stairs or go for a walk. Park your car further from your destination. Choose the stairs over an elevator or escalator. Instead of sending an e-mail or leaving a voicemail in the office, take a walk and deliver the information in person. Short bursts of exercise spread throughout the day can have the same benefits of a 30-minute session of exercise.
Form Follows Function
As you start to get more active, notice how your body feels. By listening to yourself and by becoming aware of your own body, you can see where you need to modify and increase your fitness routine all on your own. Is your back sore after lugging around a wiggly toddler all day? Is your neck stiff after sitting at your desk all day? Do you feel a twinge in your arms or legs after an afternoon of yard work? Functional fitness helps teach your muscles how to work better together. Of course, persistent pain should be checked out by your physician, but these every day aches and pains may be telling you something. Make it a habit to incorporate some gentle stretching into your day, as part of your morning routine, paying attention to the areas that tend to give you trouble. A personal trainer or fitness professional can help you develop a routine that will target weaknesses. However, technology can be your friend here. An Internet search can reveal great body weight exercise routines that target core, shoulders, legs and more.
What Does Fitness Look Like?
There are plenty of personal trainers and fitness classes that are tailored to the ultra fit, athletes and body builders. These people dedicate hours a day to exercise. They look great. They are the examples we see on television and read about. But fitness is for everyone. And there are great routines, classes and trainers for someone who is new to exercise—or just returning after a long hiatus. Once you’ve gotten yourself moving a little more, maybe it’s time to expand your fitness routine. Finding a friend to exercise with, or joining a class of other beginners, can make fitness fun, as well as give you some additional accountability. My goal as an instructor is to make everyone comfortable, both in the class and in their own bodies. Our goal is healthy fitness, not perfection.
Fitness is all around us. I find the biggest enemy to fitness is that remote control. Screen time can make us sedentary and give us unrealistic, unobtainable or expensive examples of exercise. Your own body is your best fitness tool. And there are opportunities to exercise at almost every point of your day, from gentle stretching as you wake up, extra footsteps during your day, or simple exercises using body weight or every day objects. Get yourself moving as a first step. Achieving a goal of 30-minutes is easier than you think. It addition to making you feel great, it will give you more confidence to try new things as well, like walking faster and longer each day, joining a fitness class or working out with a personal trainer. Turn off that TV -start moving.