Dec
02
2009
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I must be completely honest.  I guess you could say I’m kind of lucky – I get to spend the majority of my day doing what I love – helping people change their lives through changing their bodies by utilizing exercise.


For over 20 years I have been involved in the health, fitness and wellness industry either as a competitive athlete or weekend warrior.  When I left my position as a psychotherapist 12 years ago to concentrate fully on making Energy F/X Fitness Consultants a leader in health, fitness and wellness through utilizing my unique R.E.S.U.L.T. systems, I worked at a local gym.  Thus people had already made the commitment to exercise and were merely looking for my guidance.  As time progressed and my clientele all showed consistent results, whether it was for weight loss, rehab from old injuries or weekend warriors looking to improve their performance, I no longer had to “cold sell” the importance of exercise or my services to new clients.  They had come because they were ready to succeed in their quest to become their best.


Then like a ton of bricks, POW! Reality smacked me right in the face.  A long time female client of mine approached me the other day and with sincere earnest asked me, “How do I get my partner to exercise?”  She went on to describe how much she cared for him and how important he was in her life.  She continued, expressing to me that while he was mildly active she was concerned that his present habits were leading to a larger stomach and she was concerned about his health.

I realize this all may seem rather silly to state.  But I have not had to convince someone of the importance of exercise in their life for a long time.  For so many years I have had the luxury of actually working with people that already knew the importance and merely needed guidance.  Or needed help with their nutrition.  It’s been a while since I had actually had to convince someone of the importance of exercise.


And so here we are.  Why exercise? 


It is of the utmost importance to first understand the evolutionary purpose of the human body.   It was made to SURVIVE!  There is a reason we outlasted the dinosaurs, and just because the ideas of fitness and beauty have changed over the years, we still genetically speaking, are much the same and built for specific purposes. 


Initially, our activities consisted of using our body to survive.  That means avoiding predators, hunting, gathering, fending off predators, running, jumping, walking long distances, pushing, pulling things and occasional conflicts with nearby tribes for hunting rights.  The reason it is SO important to understand the purpose of the human body is because it is this understanding that should dictate how we go about taking care of our bodies.

 

For instance, we were not made to sit for long periods of time.  A casual glance at the amount of low back pain that exists in our society is evidence of this.  We weren’t meant to sit idle in front of computers, playing video games, or trapped in the car in traffic.  Neither were we made to consume high calorie foods with decreased activity levels.  A look at the rising obesity rate in the U.S. and worldwide is evidence of this.  Societal advances have created what I call “Syndromes of Living”.  These syndromes are usually characterized by weak lower backs, weak abdominals, tight shoulders, knee pain, etc., which are all the result of technological advancements without, physiological considerations.  Simply put, life got easier and we, typically got lazier.


Ok, so enough of that.  Why exercise?


Obesity perspective


I just finished reading some articles by the RAND Corporation that examined obesity and disability.  They defined obesity as any weight that endangers health because of high body fat relative to lean body mass.  Please see below for a general guideline for measuring obesity, called the BMI (Body Mass Index):


Measuring Obesity


HEIGHT

UNDERWEIGHT

NORMAL

OVERWEIGHT

OBESE

5’3”

103 or less

104 – 140

141 – 168

169+

5’6”

114 or less

115 – 154

155 – 185

186+

5’9”

125 or less

125 – 168

169 – 202

203+

6’

136 or less

137 – 183

184 – 220

221+

                                                                                                                           Rand Corp. 2007   

A careful note when utilizing this chart for reference, the BMI chart does not distinguish fat from bone and muscle mass, it can misclassify some people.

Simply put, what they found was that 1 in 5 U.S. adults are now classified as obese based on self-reported weight, and almost 1 in 3 when based on objective measures of weight.  Hence obesity is becoming a serious problem.  In fact obesity is said to affect more people than smoking, heavy drinking, or poverty in increasing one’s risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and strokes.

In addition, it was found that obese individuals actually spend 36% more on health care services and 77% more on medications. Not to mention that the obese have more difficulty managing the five basic activities of daily living; bathing, eating, dressing, walking across a room, and getting in or out of bed.

To make it plain, being significantly overweight not only affects your health, it affects your pocket book.


Quality of Life perspective


If we remember what the human body evolved to do, it is clear that doing the opposite is only going to cause discomfort and a decreased quality of life.  We were made to SURVIVE!  And during the most significant times of our evolution, survival meant we had to move.  Thus if you want the quality of your life to improve, you’ve got to include some type of physical activity in your daily or at least weekly schedule.  To ignore this important need is to ignore a major component of the quality of life you were meant to enjoy.

Do you find yourself easily out of breath after climbing a few flights of stairs? 

Do you find yourself completely exhausted at the end of the day? 

Do you like what you see when looking at yourself in the mirror? 

Do you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or difficulty sleeping?

Do you have aches and pains that just don’t seem to go away?

There are huge volumes of studies touting the importance of exercise and the benefits it provides.  I realize listing them is not what you need to read.  Instead let me give you a list of some that I find to be the most important.


  1. General improvement in quality of life. 

Believe it or not you are fighting a battle everyday you get out of bed.  It’s called the war against gravity.  Whether it’s to carry your own body weight around more easily everyday or to help with the daily chores of life, exercise makes day to day living easier and less stressful on your body.


  1. Trouble Sleeping? 

Exercise has been shown to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep as well as deepen your sleep.  And goodness knows a good night’s sleep feels great!  Not to mention a good night’s sleep also allows the body time to repair. Talk about counter-productive, The Journal of American Medical Association found that sleep loss: 1). Makes you feel hungry even when you are full, thus potentially increasing overeating and 2). Increases fat storage, due to inhibited ability to metabolism carbohydrates.



  1. Trouble climbing those few flights of stairs?

That’s a sign that your body is not working as efficiently as it should.  Regular exercise will help your body work more efficiently by working your heart, circulatory system and lungs.  And when they work more efficiently, you’ll have more energy to do the things you enjoy.


  1. Loosing your interest in sex or not having the experience you’d like?

You may find that exercise is just the ticket.  Often when we don’t feel good about how we look it can inhibit our ability to be physically intimate. Regular exercise can improve what you see in the mirror as well as promote an increased feeling of wellbeing.  Not to mention since exercise works the heart and lungs, it improves circulation – which can lead to a more satisfying sex life.  Men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction, especially as they age. And lastly, sleep loss has been shown to decrease testosterone and libido.


  1. Feeling overly stressed?

Exercise helps to de-stress you by allowing you a way to release all that pent up frustration, anxiety, and general bad mood.  By moving, you allow the muscles to let go of all the tension that is pent up in your body.  Not to mention that exercise releases feel good hormones often referred to as endorphins. And that’ll make you more pleasant to be around.


  1. Is your blood pressure or cholesterol high, or on its way there?

Regular exercise can help you avoid high blood pressure, or at least manage it more effectively.  Exercise actually helps you boost the high-density lipoproteins (HDL – good cholesterol), while it helps to decrease the low-density lipoproteins (LDL – bad cholesterol).  No matter how you measure it, exercise is good for you.


  1. Concerned about Osteoporosis?

Regular exercises, specifically weight bearing exercises, actually increases bone density, thus strengthening your bones and decreasing the affects of aging.

I’ve sometimes heard people state, “But I don’t have the time”.  I respond, “Start off small, doing something you like”. Perhaps 30 minutes before work or 30 minutes after your day to help you de-stress.  What matters most is that you get moving -- do something!


As I shared with you before, we were meant to move.  Exercise was a way of life; it was a means of survival.  The idea that it has to take place in a gym is far from the truth.  Exercise can take place almost anywhere.  Whether it’s a brisk walk on the beach, a few pairs of dumbbells and elastic bands in the garage, a bike ride, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or actually joining a gym, exercise can be done almost anywhere.  Give your body what it was made for.  EXERCISE NOW!

And if you need a little help getting started.  Please stop by my website at www.energyfxfitness.com and take a look at the various programs I offer to help get you on track to living healthier, happier, and longer.