The start of yet another New Year. Gyms are packed and people seem motivated and determined to get fit and strong, live a bit healthier and exercise more.
But what does it mean to be fit,
strong, and healthy?
What should your workout consist of?
Can you get fit and healthy by going to a gym (while hunching over their many cardio machines or pushing effortlessly a few weights on the weight machines)?
What about strength?
Strength can be measured by how much one person can lift but unless you are an athlete or are training for a specific event do you really need to lift heavy weights?
More importantly, does being strong equate to being healthy or fit? –
No – not necessarily but strength matters.
True fitness, fitness for health and injury prevention doesn’t happen on a cardio or weight machine or doing the same routine over and over again.
Fit, Strong, and Healthy
Regardless of your age, you should desire to be fit, strong, and healthy.
It makes aging that much easier and more enjoyable. It allows us to handle life, stresses, and illnesses more successfully, today, next month, year, and decade.
Plus, with age (and we all get older) we’ll stay independent and filled with life and vitality that much longer.
We feel better, more confident, and happier and live life more actively.
At the gym I see countless people, of all ages, sit on a weight machine pushing or pulling different weights barely breaking a sweat – they barely connect with their muscles, rather go through motion and use momentum, and either use too much or too little weight.
I see many people walk with a friend, at times even a power walk. And while they might break a little sweat it’s all they do. Walking, while a great (!) activity, can’t be the only activity.
–> Upper body is completely neglected, which particularly for women is generally much weaker compared to lower body.
–> and when you get older, as woman, and need to push yourself or pull yourself up from something (assume you tripped) or need to do something around the house or run a simple chore will you be able to do this independently?
Lots of people believe they are fit because they run several times a week. While running is a great cardiovascular activity, it lacks diversity as well as upper body training, and can lead in many to hip abduction weaknesses and unilateral/uneven leg and hip strength.
Now, you don’t need to work out like an athlete but if you commit to working out, work out smart with your health, fitness, and aging goals in mind!
What Does Being Fit Entail?
BEING FIT includes
training things such as strength, speed & power, coordination & balance, mobility, flexibility & agility – at any age
a combination training of strength and cardio-respiratory endurance
exercises in all three planes
a workout that allows you to truly connect to your body & center of gravity, your body’s strengths and weaknesses
(being fit, in this blog post, covers only aspects that relate to working out)
Does your workout focus on
all aspects of fitness?
One might argue fitness is contingent on one’s goal. And yes, that’s true. A marathon runner will need to train vastly different than a cross fitter, who’ll need to train differently from a tennis player.
But the average person should aim for a level of fitness that supports a healthy and active lifestyle.
Think about it:
What Do You Think YOU Need to
Be Fit, Strong, and Healthy
and Age well?
What does being healthy and fit mean to you?
What kind of workout supports your goals?
Fitness is beyond sitting on a weight machine and doing 2 or 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Fitness is beyond your regular walking or running routine.
If you want to age well, remain fit and active, mobile and independent you need to focus on a workout that improves strength and endurance but also power, balance, co-ordination, and agility and mental alertness – in short functional fitness.
Functional fitness = exercise for our body to meet life’s demands,
ability to perform daily life’ activities,
injury prevention & breaking chronic ailments,
basic but varied in all 3 planes of motion
necessary & practical at any age
fun & enjoyable!
Just think about it:
In daily life, do you push something with both of your feet while seated comfortably in a chair?
Most likely, you will need to step up on a chair to reach something above
that requires leg & core strength and balance and a great feel & awareness for your body (plus being comfortable in your skills & ability)
or you need to step out of a slippery bath tub or walk a few flights of stairs holding something heavy in your arms or push yourself out of a chair (which of course should be done without any pushing but sadly most people couldn’t get off the couch without using their arms).
Have you ever considered if you are fit enough to survive an emergency event?
What about going on a hiking trip with friends, visiting a new city or traveling through a few new countries? Is your current workout program fit enough to get you fit for life?
By the way, if you think you don’t need power know that leg power is an important factor influencing physical performance, particularly as we age.
Life doesn’t happen on a machine or in a structured setting.
Choose to make your workouts as useful and effective as possible .
More, we all age. How we age, how agile, active, and independent we’ll remain is contingent on our workout choices today.
Make your workout work for you!
Machines, however, can be useful. They can help in developing basic strength, in getting started, in building muscles but they shouldn’t be the only exercise tool.
I understand some of you might feel safe using a machine. But know that you can even injure yourself on a machine so please don’t trust them blindly.
Some might not know what to do at the gym, hence machines look like a safe bet.
Others might „fear“ the weight room filled with dumbbells and massive looking guys.
If you are new to exercise seek the support of an experienced trainer (like me) or friend or join small group classes with enough individual attention that you engage and execute the exercises properly – injury prevention takes priority.
Now, how fit are you?
Does your workout contain strength exercises with machines, free weights, and body weight?
Does your workout contain single leg or single arm exercises?
Do you include lateral and rotational exercises, cognitive drills while exercising and speed training?
What about your balance?
–> Do you want to know what a well-rounded workout should look like? Then join our outdoor group workouts.
Are you fit enough for life?
If you needed to run after the bus could you quickly engage in a sprint without injuring yourself?
Are you able to lift your groceries onto the counter without injuring your back?
Do you push or pull weights always using the same speed? Change thing up – yes, moving weights quicker feels harder at first but you might like the challenge!
How do you want to age?
Balance, agility, mobility, full body strength (upper as well as lower) and the ability to move through life strong, confident and filled with energy and vigor influences how we age and how we are perceived.
How do you want to feel in 5, 10 or 20 years?
Don’t view a workout as a boring task.
View working out as:
opportunity to become strong and fit and healthy
something you do for yourself, to age well and prevent bodily ailments or age-related injuries
fun activity to push yourself, feel alive, and energized
an activity you enjoy and look forward to engaging it
–> Make it fun, change things up, and try new things – but make sure these things are useful to your goals.
If you live in Vienna, join us for our outdoor group workouts which focus on ALL aspects of fitness – our group workouts get you fit and strong and healthy – fit for life and fit for aging well.
*This post is for the average person wanting to be a bit fitter and healthier and trying to increase their level of activity.
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