We aren’t all big-time athletes who need to be able to run a 40 in under 10 seconds or a marathon in under 3 hours. You might possibly not need to deadlift 3x/bodyweight either. In essence, many of us are just Average Joe’s and not Olympic athletes…
We want to do the bare minimum or slightly more in order to enhance our health in terms of being relatively fit and looking relatively svelt. Also, we wouldn’t mind accomplishing this in the most time-effective manner, since we are all work-horses. In these days of Covid-19, we all are doing double/triple duty as teachers, workers, housekeepers, etc.
Some basic tenets of exercising Will revolve around things like:
- Reduce Inflammation: Higher levels of fitness, especially aerobic fitness, are anti-inflammatory, as it improves something called your Vagus Nerve function, which is probably your body’s best ever anti-inflammatory pathway. This is something that Heart Rate Variability measures, which is a big-time topic for another day.
- Live Longer: We are all train-wrecks occasionally, and God only knows how many years I’ve taken off my life in my 20’s; luckily, research has consistently shown that having enhanced cardiovascular fitness and being relatively stronger can enhance life, and especially the quality of life. Definitely not a panacea to cancel out my 20’s, but it’s a start!
- Lose Body Fat: Exercise obviously helps this, especially weight training, which helps keep you sensitive to insulin–a BIG deal when trying to lose body-fat.
- Reduce Disease Risk: A big one, especially as you hit your 40’s! Aerobic Fitness and its main marker, VO2MAX, have been shown in a ridiculous amount of research to reduce stroke, CV disease, and many others.
- Improve Memory: Again, looking at me in my 20’s, Lord only knows how much memory I burned. But lucky for us, conditioning work can help prevent memory decline.
- Thrive: Actually be able to do stuff like be active on that vacation you are planning rather than just boozing and being a waste all-day, like this guy:
(Sorry Charlie, this pic never gets old!)
How do we get there?
Glad you asked!—using what I call Principled Programming. We need to understand what type of exercises do what, and when to switch our program up to ensure it keeps working. In essence, we need focus and planning.
Ask yourself these questions: Have you ever tested yourself so you can “check your returns”? Besides saying you can do those extra push-ups, have you measured cardiovascular markers such as resting heart rate and heart rate recovery after doing weeks of aerobic work? Didn’t think so, but you will soon I hope! And it takes barely any time, because there is a real possibility you made zero progress after all that time and all those miles.
Have you ever followed what I call the A, B, C’s of Exercise Selection? I like to call this: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself“, and a future post will be about exactly this. Understanding how to choose a safe and effective exercise will ensure you that the exercise you are doing is actually benefitting you, or quickening your demise, which is a real thing. Just consider deadlifting wrong for months—you got stronger likely, but at the expense of your lower back, and you voluntarily did this b/c your deadlift didn’t pass the A,B,C test!
Have you ever followed the principles of exercise programming?
Namely, how hard to exercise and how often to do so… Many of us either do too-easy too-much, or nowadays, keep the intensity up way too much and too often with things like High Intensity Interval training. You can and will get fit with these high intensity methods, but are you getting healthy? How do you know? Do you think crushing yourself every.single.workout is good for your overall health? Do you ever engage in less intense exercise to reduce your inflammation and not add to it? If you can believe it, you can be fit and unhealthy—Exhibit A: Any professional athlete. How are they fairing in their 50’s? How is their orthopedic health after so many years of high-intensity work? There is such a thing as too much, and you need to know how to recognize it.
I hope that if you follow my advice on programming and exercise selection, which I will dedicate several articles to, you can gain wisdom on how to figure this stuff out on your own eventually and have rhyme and reason to your exercise program. Once you learn some basics, you will realize that exercise should never be torture, but enjoyable. What’s torturous is winging it with no rhyme or reason. What’s even worse is actually putting in high intensity efforts, but programming them in an unprincipled manner and actually ending up worse than when you started!
*The next 4 or 5 blog entries will be simple educational lessons on the Basics of Exercise. I guarantee you will have a better understanding of the why’s and how’s of working out, especially working out at home! Stick with me—these are 5 min reading pieces.
As an aside, the best way to avoid many health maladies is to not put your body through inflaming-stuff. Like me in my 20’s, and 30’s for that matter! Such examples would be eating crap, drinking crap, sleeping like crap, etc, but I’m sure you knew that! Easier said than done.
To begin training virtually with Brian, get started at https://www.trainerize.me/profile/brianmahoney/Brian.Mahoney and schedule your complimentary consultation which can be done either via call or email.