Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fitness program

What is your fitness program?

All of us need to develop our own personalized fitness program for health and mobility. Our daily lives task us to perform on many different physical levels. Our bodies need to be fit for us to perform these tasks or we may risk injury or possible death.

Many years ago I pulled a back muscle when lifting my son out of his car seat. I had many similar injuries after that initial injury when lifting a laundry basket and sometimes when picking a towel off the floor. I decided at that time to find a fitness program that would strengthen my back muscles and enable me to perform these simple tasks without injury.

A fitness program that is right for you will be fun and help you accomplish health and mobility goals. I have tried many different types of workouts – racquetball, running, jazzercise, walking, tennis, and video games such as WI. These workouts did not stick with me because my goal was to use them to lose weight. Weight lose can only occur and remain when combined with a fitness and eating program that is right for your body and personality. The fitness and eating program must complement each other and the goal must be on total fitness not just losing weight. Both can be found when we understand what we enjoy doing and eating. The workouts above may be the right ones for you. Some friends use bike riding as a way to stay fit. They enjoy the challenge and it gives them the ability to be outdoors. Another friend enjoys running through the woods. It sounds crazy to me but he loves doing it and is always raising the bar for distance and endurance. Find what you enjoy and increase the intensity over time so you don’t get bored with it being too easy and to ensure your body is getting the physical benefit it needs to be fit and healthy.

My fitness program began six years ago with martial arts. I enjoy the physical and mental challenge that martial arts offers. This is what keeps me engaged in it for so many years. I felt my body and mind get stronger over these years and have changed my eating patterns several times as I search for the right foods to fuel my body efficiently. The physical demands of martial arts training is getting harder as I move towards black belt. So, I searched to add something to my fitness program. Two years ago I added swimming. I found that I have some natural ability and really love the sport. Swimming is engaging upper body and leg muscles in ways these muscles do not engage with martial arts training. It is also low impact for my muscles and enables me to swim for longer periods of time. All throughout these years of martial arts and swimming I have always wanted to add weight training to my program. Studies show our bodies lose muscle as we age and that weight training can help us keep and build muscles. Recently, I found a weight training program called Crossfit. I have only a month of working with the Crossfit program and can already feel so many muscles being engaged that I have not felt engaged with either martial arts or swimming. I am excited about this program because it will help me increase my abilities in both martial arts and swimming and it gets me moving more!

How much do you move in your day?

Here is my mobility during a day when I workout:
7 hours sleeping – not moving
2 hours prep time in the morning – light moving
.30 minutes commute to work – not moving
10 hours of work – not moving
1 to 2 hours working out – intense moving
3 hours eating, watching TV, reading, computing…. – not moving

Total hours not moving = 20
Total hours moving = 4

This motivates me to find more ways to move. Because if I don’t I run the risk of injury, not being able to complete life’s tasks and aging poorly. It also motivates me to think about what I am eating during the day. I ask myself if I will be working the consumed calories off though my body’s movement. Diets are temporary. I am a life time weight watchers member and I still have an issue with weight. Diets do not help me.

The idea of calorie intake versus calorie burned is making a difference for me. I am losing the pounds without weighing, measuring, tracking and feeling guilty about the food I eat or don’t eat. I know what foods don’t work for me and those that do. I balance the intake of these foods with how much I am moving in a day. If I am not moving that much then I know I have to eat less and be sure to stay away from sugary sweets. If I know I will be moving a lot in a day, I will increase the food I eat or may have some sweets. I find as time passes and I get into the grove of this new way of thinking, I am less attracted to the sweets (high calorie) foods and desire to have healthy low calories foods more often.

Think about how much you move in a day versus the amount of food intake
Develop a fitness program that is fun and increases in intensity
Get moving and get fit!

Younger next year by Chris Crowley, Henry S. Lodge
The authors have several books – pick the one that is right for you