Here in New England, it is officially spring. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, the afternoons stretch farther into the evening and there’s enough daylight to head outdoors after work without our headlamps.
But spring? You’d not know it to look outside. It is, after all, Vermont and snow on Mother’s Day is legendary. What we love, however, is spring skiing, maple sugaring, and sunny afternoons.
Yes, real spring is right around the corner, if in hiding. It is, however, in spite of the weather, time to get going. The stirrings of summer sports and activities ignite imaginations. Whatever speaks to you, be sure you are a step ahead preparing mentally and physically, have blocked off dates on your calendar and tuned equipment. Get ready. Get set. GO!
What is fitness? It is different for each of us but generally refers to strength and endurance of the muscles and cardiovascular system, flexibility, balance, appropriate body weight, stress management, health, wellness, energy, optimism, the enthusiasm with which one greets a new day.
Fitness is personal. ALL ABOUT FITNESS deals with the varied but integral components of physical, emotional and mental fitness from daily life to competition, from adaptive to performance.
Fitness that is uniquely ours must integrate with friends and family, goals and skills, time and budget, hopes and dreams. Motivation. Passion. Fitness is achievable, but it is a journey. No “presto.” No magic. Often it is one foot in front of another until a new, healthy habit is acquired. When fitness becomes a choice, it is realized as sustainable living.
TAKE FITNESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL. You are fit. You exercise regularly at the gym. You have joined a class or two – aqua aerobics, Pilates, Yoga, maybe TRX, or Spinning®. You are mindful of your diet and do your best to sort out the ever-changing nutritional information that comes your way. You visit your primary care provider annually, have the appropriate testing done to proactively protect your health, and make certain that you include oral hygiene in your medical care program
Each year you are growing a bit older, but the number of years does not necessarily equate your physical health and well-being. Each decade seems to make a difference – from 20s to 30s, from 30 to 40s, from 40s to 50s, from 50s to 60s, from 60s to 70s, from 70s to 80s, from 80s to 90s and even above. You read stories of senior athletes performing seemingly impossible feats and you look at yourself and your growing fatigue and diminishing spark and wonder how they do it.
If you are a competitive athlete, advancing age is significant because you move to the next age group and, for a few years, enjoy an advantage. If you are a fitness enthusiast, a parent of growing children, rising up the corporate ladder, or accepting too many civic responsibilities, it may become increasingly more difficult to take good care of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Stop. Take a look at your daily life and see what you can do to embrace some time-tested, science-based elements of fitness that may work for you, infuse your exercise, diet and mental acuity with fresh energy and a quantum leap in strength, enthusiasm and balance.
Exercising in a gym is good, exercising in a group setting is better, and taking it outdoors is best. Moving outdoors challenges your mind and body with variety, instability, irregular pace and the opportunity to join others in your endeavors. Running buddies, cycling partners, hiking friends, canine cohorts, boot camps and more trigger activities where camaraderie meets competition, creativity meets routine and a spark lights the fire of play, fun and finally progress.
Take it outside. Explore nutritional options. Check your sleep patterns and make changes in order to protect your rest, recreation and recovery. There’s more to fitness than clocking your time, mileage and intensity. As important to performance as they may be, there’s more. And more is better. More is sustainable. More is, well, more.