There is a world of difference between ‘getting fit’ and ‘keeping fit’.
One obvious difference is that ‘keeping fit’ is a practice the fitness lover cannot bear to forego, while ‘getting fit’ can feel more like self-imposed torture!
Starting your fitness regime by yourself can be quite daunting but as any fitness lover will testify ‘keeping fit’ is an irresistible practice. There’s plenty of evidence to show that we can live our lives without any kind of exertion, but what kind of a life would that be?
When the new exerciser suddenly begins to over-exert themselves they are literally, and effectively, causing physiological earthquakes. This is exactly what’s needed but if those earthquakes aren’t governed or monitored then all those good intentions can go down the pan and enthusiasm can wane along with the desired progress.
So let’s suppose this is day one. You made a resolution last night that fitness starts TODAY, bought a pair of running shoes on your lunch break today and now you’re just staring at them…
The Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step _Lao Tzu
A gung-ho personality might just put the running shoes on, tuck in the laces and fly out of the front door, returning 30 minutes later in a sweaty, victorious heap. Great! Carry on and you can only get fitter and stronger. Others though might do better to take baby steps towards improving their fitness and long-term physical health.
As animals, if we’re not comfortable or confident doing something that we need to do on a regular basis we’ll very quickly find a shortcut or the path of least resistance and it can be quite alarming how much compromise we learn to live with. So, for a start try to gain some awareness of how you go about your day, physically. For example: When putting your socks on, do you bring your knee into your chest or do you contort yourself considerably because you struggle to reach your feet? Do you hold onto the rails as you’re taking the stairs? Do you take the stairs or the lift? Which bus stop do you head for? Could you skip one? Or two? Or all of them?
One 52-year-old woman told me she’d unintentionally developed her fitness, lost a stone and a half and passed her 1st medical MOT since hitting her middle years. She did this just by walking to work and started to improve as soon as she walked past that 1st bus stop – one year ago!
Fitness isn’t a size it’s a feeling so exercise doesn’t have to be intense. It doesn’t even need to feel like exercise. Just move. Our bodies are organic and although our original purpose has been overridden by industrial development, our physiological makeup remains the same. Even heredity can be overruled by exercise! Regular movement is the ONLY factor (outside of medicine) that prevents risks in the following areas.
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Decreased risk of stroke
- Diabetes (Type 2)
- Weight gain
- Muscular degeneration
- Arterial degeneration (cardio improves veinal elasticity)
- Back pain
- Metabolic syndrome (sitting for more than 1 hour can lower your metabolism by up to 19%) So unfair!
Movement is what the human body was designed to do. We’re still hunter/gatherers and although our original purpose has been overridden by industrial development, our biological demands remain the same and if we insist on ignoring those demands because we’re too busy, can’t be bothered or don’t see ourselves as the ‘hunting type’ then there will, of course, be consequences.
Exercise doesn’t have to be intense. It doesn’t even need to feel like exercise. Just move.
The goal in any exercise session is to ‘overload‘. Take yourself just beyond your comfort zone and your fitness will have some incentive to improve. In other words, you’ll be getting fitter and be feeling better.