Monday, September 17, 2012

Fitness as a Fad, a Goal or a way of Life

"HEALTH IS WEALTH" - We all have heard this. How many of us work to earn it. Health like materialistic wealth also needs one to sweat, be disciplined and dedicated.

Usually people treat health like a fixed deposit in the bank. They feel I have always been healthy and have no ailments plus I played lots of sports in my school days, So I am bound to be healthy even today. Well sadly they are wrong. We can say health is like the working capital of a business if it is not used to generate more wealth it will just lie in one corner slowly but surely depleting with time.

I do not wish to write this article to be rude or hurt or ridicule those who take their health for granted but with the hope that I accomplish in giving them a gentle jolt so they take to seriously improving their health and fitness levels. 

Before starting the article I would like to mention that even if one has ailments like diabetes or blood pressure one can workout. All one needs to do is know of the possible tell tale signs that could occur during exercising for eg- sugar levels could suddenly drop and you may feel giddy etc. Your trainer should also be informed in detail of your ailment so he or she can take the necessary precautions for you.

What is Fitness? Is it your ability to lift weights? Is it your ability to stretch and perform various yoga asanas? Is it your ability to jog for hours? Well it is neither of them. Fitness is a very wholistic word it can not be limited to only one ability.  A person with a good fitness level should be just as good at aerobic exercises as they are with anaerobic exercises, just as good at stretching as they are at lifting weights and so on. Which is something most people miss out on. From the few  people that are seriously into fitness training may be only 1% of them approach fitness this way. Some just hit the gym and get bulky but can not even jog  5km at a stretch others may go for aerobics, yoga, dance, swimming etc but may never touch weights nor jog. This is a half baked approach to fitness. It is like baking half the cake and leaving the other half all sticky and uncooked. Every form of workout develops the body and its muscles differently only when we mix our training routine does the whole body get effective training.

Approach fitness wholisticaly. Prepare a schedule where you put in a workout at the gym as well as a jog in the park, along with may be a sport or yoga or dance or anything you like to do. It is this aim to target fitness wholisticaly that has brought about workouts like  Crossfit or Spartan.

It is sad and yet very true that in our country India people have an aversion to health and fitness no wonder that even before a hospital has opened officially patients begin to pour in where as a gym or fitness studio takes few months to get a good number of clients.  

We Indians (well at least most of us) have this wrong notion of age. We will most willingly finish 1kg of Jalebi or any sweet even at 50 years but will consider ourselves to be old to do rigorous training even at 25years.

There is no set age limit to begin or end ones journey in fitness. I know of people way past their 70's and yet they are very fit and even jog up hills regularly. Yes however I do not suggest that you wake up one day wear your shoes and run like a wild dog is chasing you around the park. Start slowly if you have been physically sedentary. Start walking build on it gradually by increasing your pace then gradually move to jogging and other forms of fitness training. The other most common belief is that - walking is good exercise. Walking is a wonderful exercise but not if you are strolling around the park. Walking also needs to be brisk to be called an exercise.

There are usually 3 ways people approach fitness. 
1. As a Fad
2. Set a Goal
3. A way of life.

Lets look at each of these approaches and which one is the right and most suitable approach.

Fitness as a Fad : -  This is the worst approach and has the maximum number of people in it. Suddenly one day people hear of some new exercise routine or fitness workout and everyone runs to join it. Most of them do it because it is supposed to be cool or because all their friends have joined. Some times people get a sudden spurt of enthusiasm after seeing someone who is fit. They will go buy new track pants, jogging shoes etc and they start but usually they never get passed the first week itself. Recently a lady boxer from our country  won a medal at the Olympics and the next day there were small girls brought by their parents to join a boxing coaching camp at the park I go to daily. Every body can not become an Olympic boxer but yes everyone can work to improve their fitness levels. Am sure in days to come these small girls who are forced by their parents to join boxing may stop training in it. Do we approach our career or our life whimsically? Ever changing and fluttering around from one thing to another. Well am sure we don't similarly do not approach your health and fitness whimsically too.

Fitness as a Goal : - Goal setting is good but it is usually approached wrongly. A person who is say 30kgs overweight aims at getting within their medically prescribed weight within 1 -2 months is not only an absurd goal but also severely harmful to the body. To achieve this target they may virtually stop eating and overexert the body without giving enough time for the body to recover. There are others who set a goal to reach a certain barometer set by them. They may or may not approach it in the right way. However once they have met their target they start getting complacent and over a period of time loose all the benefits they had gained by working out. There are others who after achieving their target feel they are now very fit and set a new goal of mammoth proportions. To achieve this target they will harm their body if not immediately then surely in the long run. Be realistic we are human beings not SUPERMAN OR SUPERWOMEN. 

Fitness as a way of Life : -  This is the best approach and the one I hope we all vow to follow. Can a small child no matter how smart appear for the board exam before he has even learnt his alphabets? Or can a builder build the 10 floor of a building without even laying the foundation? Similarly fitness also needs one to begin from the base and move up gradually. It is a process that can last many life times and still need one to work towards perfection. You need to gradually start building block by block and there is no limit to how high you can take your fitness level. Try to change your lifestyle, eat right and in moderation, workout well, give sufficient time for the body to recover, set realistic goals and targets, be disciplined and dedicated. These are someways we can work on making fitness a way of life. Most important always remember you are as old as you belief you are. The best example for this would be - Am sure we have seen some elderly people being very active however once they retire and stop doing any work they suddenly age over night. So keep training and working out always and have a very realistic and logical approach to fitness then am sure you will never go wrong. I have been training from last 27 years yet am still training everyday even today. In fact in the last few years, I end up collecting more miles on my current sport shoes than I did on the last pair before discarding them. Even though I have so many years of training behind me I approach fitness a step at a time and not just rush into it just because my body can take the load.

 I hope the article has been able to make its readers aware of the right approach to fitness and has made them decide to not train today or tomorrow only but to make FITNESS A WAY OF LIFE. To workout till their last breath on this wonderful Earth.

If you have any doubts or would like any assistance in setting up a workout for yourself do get in touch with me and am sure you will soon be on the right path to health and fitness.

                                                                Happy Training!!!  


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