Remember last week I asked about where you get your health and fitness information. I discussed various places where health and fitness information is available and discussed the inconsistencies.
It doesn’t really end there.
Most of the information we get from the sources I listed in last week’s article assumes a couple of things:
- That we all want bikini or swimsuit bodies.
- That we are all totally dissatisfied with who and where we are now.
- We all want the same thing – BUT, in reality, all our goals are different.
- There is only one way to get to where you want to go – their way. If you don’t do it their way, you are doomed to failure.
I understand that there are many common goals that most of us share. Some of these are
- Happiness (as only you can define it)
- Vibrant health
- More personal energy.
- Freedom from long term chronic illness
- Ideal weight, look good, feel good.
- To be fully functional . . . Physically and mentally able to do those things we want to do.
The above items can have different meanings for different people and our goals and meanings can be different at different ages and can depend on our outlook or attitude toward life in general.
That’s why it’s so important to find out what works for you. One size does not fit all. For example everybody needs upper body strength to be able to lift, carry, push and pull. Let’s use the biceps muscles as an example. These are the muscles that form the front part of your arms. The biceps extend and contract a certain way. But there are numerous ways to cause this extension and contraction. The simplest is to raise a dumbbell from your side to your shoulder with your palms facing forward.. That will strengthen your bicep muscle. But there are many ways to contract the bicep. You can do dumbbell or barbell curls. You can do pull-ups. You can do a variety of pulling exercises. You can use free weights, or you can use resistance bands, or you can use a machine. You can even use soup cans and do the exercise in your kitchen. Each person will do the exercise in their own way. It doesn’t matter which method you use, but you need to do something to strengthen the muscles in the front of your arms so you can lift, pick up and carry things in your arms, like groceries or your infant grandchild. The same goes for all the other muscles of your body. If you really want to be fully functional, that is being physically capable of doing the things you want to do, there are many different ways to get there and each of us must decide for ourselves what works best for us.
We all have different preferences for moving our bodies, strengthening our limbs, lubricating our joints. Some prefer swimming or water aerobics, some prefer weightlifting at the gym, some prefer running (you need some resistance training too). Try them all and then pick something that suits you. It doesn’t matter what your friends or neighbors do, they have their preferences and you have yours.
One size fits all is usually slanted to the lowest common denominator. That’s not you.
Most of you reading this are seniors. We are a stubborn lot overall. But we still have to make our choices daily and do what is right for us. Most of us know what we should be doing to reach the real goals we want for our senior years. Some of us do them; others don’t. It’s hard. We live in a culture where healthy people are outnumbered by unhealthy people and the marketers aim for where most of the money is.
But it’s still our own personal choice and or responsibility to take care of ourselves. One size will never fit all as long as there are at least two people living on earth. Listen to your own body. Set your own goals and make your own choices. Be one of the few, the proud and the healthy.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. By the way. If you want to read a source with a little different perspective on health and fitness, as well as advice worth heeding, I highly recommend Experience Life magazine. This is one of the best references for health and fitness I have found for the everyday person. The magazine is a subsidiary property of the LifeTime Fitness organization but the magazine is a separate entity. For the purposes of full disclosure, I am not a member of LifeTime Fitness, nor do I get a commission or other compensation for recommending the magazine. In fact I go to a different gym which is around the corner from LifeTime Fitness in Reston, VA, and I wouldn’t change for anything in the world.