Physical care of your body is very important.
We all know that now. Your health is great wealth. We’re all told that countless times, a cliché’ but true. But physical care alone is not enough. I have observed over the years that most, if not, all of us, work very hard at maintaining ‘less than ideal’ or ‘bad’ habits. People will go out of their way to keep their bad habits. It’s a daily war for almost every human being. I guess its one way to remind us that we’re human. Our imperfection makes us human, but that doesn’t mean we cannot strive to be a better ‘human’.
If you live with resentment, anger, or other destructive emotions, you’ll tear yourself apart internally if you don’t get specialized help. Happiness is an essential part of good health. Move closer towards finding happiness, you move closer to being truly successful, not the other way round – the pursuit of success does not necessarily bring you happiness.
Focus on the now. Focus and be grateful for everything you have rather than focusing on what you don’t have. Maybe, carry out a ‘gratitude assessment’ for yourself. See what it tells you about you, at this point in time.
Is your health something that is on that gratitude test of yours? Even if it isn’t, remind yourself never to take good health for granted. It needs to be constantly worked at, just like anything in life that is a worthwhile goal. Along with your other very important responsibilities in your life – your financial, your spiritual, your career/business, your mental, your relationships, make sure you take all possible actions to preserve good health – for your life – for your sake and those who depend on you.
No one is perfect, that is one truth we can all accept, just as true as there will always be taxes and that our physical being has a finite existence. From dust we came, so shall we return, as some may say, ‘so why should I even bother about exercise, when I am going to die anyway?’ True, but don’t die from something that is preventable. Take that step, that extra step and …. Be proactive about your physical health, not reactive. Being reactive, maybe too late.
Exercise and strength training does have aesthetic appeal, yes, but the greatest benefits are its health-related ones. It is known that in addition to building strength and developing muscle, strength training strengthens bones, improves overall fitness, helps control body-fat, increases the body’s caloric consumption, improving posture, slows down the rate of ageing, and increases resistance to injury as well as lowering the risk of injury. I have said this before: NO OTHER SINGLE FORM OF EXERCISE CAN PRODUCE ALL THESE BENEFITS.
That is why I believe, that strength training is the MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT of any exercise program, and when supplemented by other forms of exercise, it produces further health benefits.
Remember this: put aside time and effort now, while you’re still alive, to take care of your health. Don’t think of the time and effort put in as expenditures and as a waste of time. Rather think of the time and effort you put aside in the gym or exercise bike as an investment in your health and well-being, not just for the short-term but for the long-term. Like superannuation, the compound effect of continually making exercise and strength-training a permanent part of your lifestyle, will provide the fullest benefits and return on your investment in old age, just like the financial ‘nest egg’ that everyone supposedly contributes to for 30 or 40 years for their financial security in old age. The benefits of which you enjoy … if you get there. If you do, hopefully, you will have the skeletal muscle strength to make your daily activities just that little bit more comfortable and pleasurable. Basically, the quality of your old age is directly related to how strong your skeletal muscles allow you to be.
Done properly, exercise is not a chore. It’s a blessing and should be a pleasurable experience. Make the decision to help yourself today. Keep things simple. Here’s a few pointers to help guide you towards a better, more healthier YOU and taking those first few steps:
- Before starting a structured exercise program, see your doctor and possibly seek advice from other related professionals to help you determine if you have one or more of the following: Scoliosis, tilted pelvis, uneven lengths of limbs, foot problems, muscle imbalances between one side of the body and the other.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercising – keeping hydration levels adequate supports energy levels, prevents cramping, improves endurance, reduces risks of injury and promotes fat loss, amongst other things.
- Make an exercise plan – sit down and draw up a basic but realistic plan. Set your physical goals and try and write down what exercises you think would help you get there and how it fits in to your daily schedule. Find a mentor if you need to.
- Set daily and weekly goals – long term goals can be encouraging to set initially but sometimes it can get lost in the business of life. You find yourself asking “why am I working so hard” if the ultimate goal is so far away. It can be very difficult to see the nexus between your 3 hours or so exercise time each week and how you benefit physically, 6 months down the track and even more difficult to see the connection 30 years from now. Don’t despair, keep going, do it anyway. Start slow, just like a baby learns how to walk and run, it first gets up on all fours and starts crawling and then standing and then takes ‘baby’ steps and then … runs. Take baby steps too…. Until you find yourself running. And you WILL RUN if you persist!
- Don’t over-exercise! – use commonsense and don’t try and do too much, too soon. A martial arts enthusiast cannot go from white belt to black belt in a week. It takes years of consistent and persistent deliberate action, one workout at a time. Don’t adopt the “no pain, no gain” motto, instead try and adopt the “little done right, frequently, wins” motto.
Exercise should not be a temporary thing, make it a lifestyle decision. Make that decision for yourself today, if you haven’t done so already. Its your one life, after all.
Until next time …