Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Fit for Your Life

New Year's ... fitness facilities are bursting at the seams this time of year; just like those that have spent the holiday season over-indulging in all things of a high caloric value.

Beyond the phenomenon of yo-yo dieting, the influence of media (movies, music videos, and magazines) playing on peoples insecurities and accentuating vanity; is there just cause to attend a gym or indulge in some sort of ongoing physical fitness program?

Absolutely! (would be my answer).. At one point I worked as a personal fitness trainer. While undergoing the training for certification, it was cited regarding the general population currently presenting at gyms and fitness studios looking for coaching, that they were some 20% more "deconditioned" than say 10 or 15 years previous. This is directly attributable to automation, less walking, less physical ("manual labour") and a vastly more sedentary lifestyle (for many).

As a consequence people have developed a myriad of physical/mechanical dysfunction; often which needs correcting in order to then, exercise with out injury. There are some muscle groups that are tight and weakened... muscle imbalances that put unnatural strain on joints, wide spread obesity (which goes far beyond aesthetics ) it is an issue for wellness, and for regular (activities of daily living - ADL's) - carry an extra 10 fifteen pounds around your midsection and then recognize how increasingly difficult & uncomfortable it becomes, just to bend and tie up some shoes.

So I would be an advocate of fitness (as an aspect of overall wellness) and maintaining function. (Not a new idea... the concept of functional fitness has already made it's way throughout the industry)..

Still, a lack of it, compromises quality of life... as aspects of living and independence (at the more extreme end of the spectrum) decline; there is a corresponding lessening of ones wellness, and ability to enjoy life..

So "training" is not just for the elite athletes, dancers and underwear models. As my recent experience includes a fair bit of travel, consider the physicality of schlepping bags through airport terminals, through towns, on & off buses and trains. One soon realizes it requires a considerable fitness level. Of course it also makes a case for efficient packing; but you can only minimize so far.

Try riding public transit, when the seats are full and you must stand the entire trip. The driver is on the accelerator on the brake, on back on the accelerator... to maintain yourself in "an upright position" and hang on to rails or hand-hold straps - might not be the decathlon; but it still makes some demands on you physicality.  Some of the decline in fitness is attributed to age, when it more truthfully should be attributed to inactivity/immobility. Taken to the extreme it begins to manifest in seniors as more falls (lack of stability, balance and flexibility - all of which can be maintained and/or restored) fractures (decreased bone density can also be a consequence of inactivity)..

As nothing happens in isolation within the human being... physical wellness naturally effects emotional, spiritual well-being.... In fact many of the underlying causes of various physical maladies pre-exist at "unseen" levels - where until recently, they were ignored in the western world, until physical symptoms present .. then they are addressed at just the level of the physical.

Fortunately more holistic models are becoming more widely accepted and practiced. At the very least people can become more proactive with their overall wellness - given the cornucopia of modalities available today.

My coaching is to be laid upon a foundation comprised of the pillars of personal continued mental, emotion, spiritual and physical development/maintenance.. I wouldn't presume to coach people in the pursuit of wellness, if I weren't doing my utmost to maintain my own.

I have most certainly experienced imbalances and suffered the consequences on various or all levels of my being. I have now nearly resolved some long term low back pain and a extremely painful flare up of plantar fasciitis (the latter spanning more than a year. When every step visits a pain response somewhere on the spectrum between an ever-present dull ache and agony, everything from mood to enthusiasm is effected. Relief is such a blessing! I am thankful for a body that is able to communicate so much to me.. when I pay attention. I am fortunate that mine, still seems to possess the resilience, to counteract some long standing and/or intermittent abuse and neglect.

I have reignited a Qi Gong practice (through a home study program for the time being) it's only been 4 or 5 weeks but I can already perceive the development... Any of the eastern arts (tai chi, Qi gong, yoga etc.) are worth considering ... the benefits are many - again one should seek to practice within their current capacity.. An honouring of the body (right where it's at - is more important - than trying to force it to perform beyond it's readiness). I intend to revisit and revise my diet; which overall is pretty good ... so just a case of reinforcing what is working, & making some shifts elsewhere. I also am beginning to pay attention to some simple yoga moves; as flexibility/stability/balance currently present as factors, with plenty of room for potential development..

If you enjoy hiking in the woods or mountains.... it is not realistic to be inactive all winter and then thrust yourself back into the riggers of a hike come spring or summer. What you could do "last year" or the last time you visited that mountain trail, is irrelevant if you are not maintaining all year round..

If you enjoy gardening ... I don't have to tell you of the demands of bending, squatting, lunging, lifting, pulling etc. Physiotherapists, chiropractors etc. offices do a brisk business at those times of year when the yard or land require renewed vigour and physical fitness; has been allowed to lie fallow along with the fields.

This is not meant to be a blazing indictment of blame, shame guilt! Quite the contrary, it is an invitation; to consider wellness at all levels of being, a sacred privilege and one of the most worthwhile pursuits one can undergo. Is the suggested approach, "selfish" and therefore self-indulgent and lacking in any intrinsic altruism or virtue? I would submit yes and no. It is necessarily self-focused - while at the same time, if one has interest in being in service to a cause outside of themselves; they most certainly will need the requisite energy, stamina, endurance, mental/emotional resilience and spiritual fortitude, to continue to show up.....

Everyday of a given life, might call upon you to "run the event" of your life...  some energy, attention and focus ... along with some forethought, can help ensure you're not caught "flat-footed.."

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