It is no secret that constant physical activity is a must when working to achieve overall health and wellness. It seems to be a secret though that exercise alone will provide the ultimate health and wellness to an individual. Another popular misconception is that exercise should be painful, tough, and HARD! No pain, no gain! Right?, WRONG!
As we round out our fountain of youth with the fourth key, Exercise, I want to emphasize that:
1). Exercise alone will not help you reach optimal wellbeing.
2). Exercise is not married to the gym or a fitness facility.
3). Exercise (physical activity) should overall be enjoyable, and fun in a sense.
4). Constant pain and soreness is not an accurate (or healthy) indicator of how “good” your exercise routine is.
With these four key points out of the way, now we can move on to the actual benefits of exercise and how to implement it into your life.
In the 40 Year Old Virgin, Andy Stitzer AKA Steve Carell or Michael Scott, makes a wise statement/question in one of the scenes. When Andy asked, “Is it true that if you don’t use it you lose it?” he was onto something! This statement is true with most any skill, habit, or thing you can think of. Think about it, when there is a procedure you constantly perform, after a while it becomes second nature and almost automatic.
For example, driving, after years of experience on the road many times. We just get inside our vehicle, turn it on and get going, without really thinking about the actual process of it all. If you were to stop driving though for an extended period of time, I assure you you’ll have to refocus your first time back on the wheel. Have you ever ‘Forgot Your Password’ in one of your many online accounts? I bet you have. The reason for this is that you’re not typing the password in everyday to log in, because if you did you wouldn’t forget your password, ever.
The same is true for your body and muscles. The lack of use and challenge will begin the atrophy process and inevitably your body will begin to change (muscles shrinking). If you consistently and correctly put them to use and challenge them though, your muscles will prevail and in many cases even grow stronger and bigger. Thus reinforcing the wise words of Mr. Stitzer, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!”
Guess what though? Exercise goes beyond aesthetics and lack of muscle loss. Exercise when adequately implemented for health and wellness goals will help lower your resting heart rate, provide you with capacity for everyday life functional ability, and bring a sense of accomplishment and happiness. While I am a firm believer in no one size fits all, I am inclined to favor a specific methodology when it comes to overall health and wellness, Crossfit.
Disclaimer: I’m biased. I have done crossfit for over seven years now, I have coached crossfit for over five years, and have been fortunate enough to own a crossfit gym for over a year now.
All this being said, it shows my bias towards the methodology, but also makes a case for my opinion. If it weren’t for crossfit I am almost certain I would not have the fitness and health that I do today (and I’m somebody who enjoyed exercising before I even heard about crossfit). I can also attest this to be true for many more than just myself. This particular blog post is not about promoting crossfit though (believe it or not), it is about promoting health and wellness. When applied correctly Crossfit can literally save lives, that’s a fact.
A few things I’ve found to be effective about crossfit that support its legitimacy in keeping people healthy and fit are:
1). Constant variance in exercises and routines.
- The redundancy of doing the same workouts and exercises for extended periods of time will ultimately “bore” a person, and cause disinterest and demotivation to keep exercising.
2). Clearly measurable progress (or lack thereof).
- With all the various athletic disciplines blended into one (Crossfit).There are A LOT of places to improve, regardless of who you are (I’m talking to you Mat Fraser). Whether it’s gymnastics, weightlifting, endurance, speed, power, mobility, etc. you will always have attainable, clearly measurable goals to strive for. This will keep you focused and engaged.
3). Well rounded fitness program.
- If you train powerlifting, you’ll be very strong. If you train weightlifting, you’ll be very powerful. If you train long distance running, you’ll have great aerobic capacity. If you train crossfit, you’ll have all that and much more.
As I mentioned before, I am biased and not ashamed of it. But here’s the point, if you can find an exercise program that will provide you with a sense of constant fulfillment and happiness, results leading you towards your fitness goals, and the urge to stay on a healthy path, then stick to it. Whether it is pilates, zumba, gymnastics, MMA, Crossfit, etc. if it keeps you engaged, happy, and healthy, go for it! No one size fits all, and as much as it hurts to say, Crossfit is not for everyone, but exercise is. Find what works for you and don’t let go of it.
Remember, staying active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but not the only part. You must sleep to recover and stay healthy. Eat to fuel your body and reach your goals. And equally important to all, keep a positive mental attitude, in order to feast off of the coveted fountain of youth.
P.S. Make sure to give this another read when you turn 150 years old ;).