Sunday, February 7, 2010

REALITY CHECK - WHY NOT ME?

The majority of people just don’t get it. High blood pressure, overweight, diabetes, vertebrae deterioration, high cholesterol back pain, etc. Most people sluff this off as “getting old”.

According to Wikipedia Nearly one in two Americans (133 million) has a chronic medical condition of one kind or another, and chronic illnesses cause about 70% of deaths in the United States and make up about 75% of the Health Care costs each year.

You don’t have to have a sudden traumatic experience to affect your body forever. Years of small abuses in the form of poor posture, failure to maintain adequate strength and flexibility and inactivity topped with poor eating habits adds up.

Most of these chronic conditions are preventable.
Four modifiable health risk behaviors—lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption—are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases.

Do you fall into one of these behaviour categories?
Do you have any of the above mentioned conditions?
Are you asking yourself– why me?

The reality is – WHY NOT ME?

I have been blessed with a large and close family. It’s even more difficult when you see someone dear to you have increasing physical problems.

You think that having a personal trainer in the family that they have easy access to any health and fitness concerns. Anyone in the fitness industry will tell you that family members are the hardest to “sell” or promote a healthy lifestyle. Fitness Leaders will tell you that discussing health and fitness to family is nearly impossible – especially if they aren’t interested – call it na├»ve – but if you’re an adult I’d call it stubbornness. I’m sure you all can relate.

My favorite saying is “USE IT OR LOSE IT”

Here we are in the middle of a recession and 85% of men would rather be in the best physical shape of their life than the best fiscal shape of their lives. BUT what have these men done to be in that best shape? Only about 3% of the population knows what it takes to live a lifestyle that yields the energy, time and space needed for that health and high performance edge. Do you walk the talk?

Years of abuse or of a sedentary lifestyle can’t be fixed over night.

As you age your cells divide and a bit of your DNA is lost. Physical aging occurs as more and more cells reach the end of its dividing cycle (called telomeres) and dies. As the process accelerates, your muscles get weaker, organs fail, wrinkles appear, and eyesight fades. You cannot stop the process but you can dramatically slow it down with exercise. Those who exercise regularly literally have “younger” DNA in their cells.

A study in Germany found that those who did three hours of exercise a week had telomeres that were about a decade younger than their sedentary counterparts.

Now going to the store is NOT considered exercise. Constant sitting – at home, in the car, at work plus lying on a couch in a unnatural position to watch a movie will slowly deteriorate your spine. Disc Health are dependant on good posture & sound exercise mechanics.

In my fitness classes I emphasize proper posture all the time. Nourishing the Intervertebral discs is important for spinal health. Intervertebral discs can compress (resulting in movements such as flexion, extension, lateral flexion & rotation of the spine) but also act as shock absorbers. Disc Nutrition or Imbibition occurs from the alternating compression & relaxation of the disc. This is done by various functional movements of the trunk or core. Flexibility exercises alternating from a cat to cow (or camel) stretch is a great way to nourish the spine.

Everyday activities such as walking the dog, gardening, cleaning the house, and mowing the lawn are good ways of adding to your overall activity level. However, don’t kid yourself, this is great if you have been inactive, but the reality is AS YOU GET OLDER THE MORE YOU NEED TO EXERCISE – not less.

For those that think that a once a week workout is all you need it’s time to face reality.

Here is the guidelines set by the number one health and exercise science organization in the world – The American College of Sports Medicine;

Do moderately intense physical activity 30 minutes a day, five days a week

Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.

It’s never too late. A 2007 study revealed that those who started exercising after 40 reduce their risk of heart disease by more than half compared to those who remain inactive.

Exercise is the best medicine. Regular physical activity prevents high blood pressure, maintain body composition, improves posture, increased energy, reduce risk of heart disease, decrease in osteoporosis, reduces stress, keeps your mind sharp and promotes well being.

Age can be just a number …So what are you waiting for?