The Eight Roads To Fitness

1. Weight Training:

No other form of exercise is as versatile– and as fast– in delivering results. Running can improve your endurance and heart function. Stretching improves flexibility. But, weight training does it all! Weight training is also the greatest fat burner of all other forms of exercise.

2. Non-Resistance Training:

For the purpose of general fitness and for variety, spice up your exercise activity with non-resitance training working your muscles differently by doing strength exercises that require you to use your own body weight. This category includes mild running (wind sprints), calisthenics, plyometrics, swimming and bicycling. These activities will develop many of the aspects of fitness, including aerobic capacity.

3. Therapeutic Modalities:

• Jacuzzis and saunas after workouts can accelerate recovery. Be careful not to overdo the heat or length of time. If you have a heart problem or are pregnant take it very easy with the heat. 

• Acupressure, acupuncture and sports massage are other good methods of assisting the bodies restorative processes.

• Electrostimulation (EMS) is good to faciliate in several areas: 1) blood circulation, 2) endurance, 3) tissue healing, 4) cellular reconstruction, 5) release of tension or spasms, and 6) general strength.

4. Medical Support

Always consult a physician before embarking on a sustained fitness program after the age of 50 and, ideally, check back periodically to have your progress monitored. If you have any physical impairments or old injuries consult with a specialist who can prescribe a modified approach to training. Choose a medical doctor specializing sports medicine. 

5. Psychological Support:

• Hypotherapy is a quick, effective way to shed a lifetime of accumulated of negativity and self doubt. Stripped of mental and emotional shackles that limit your confidence and potential, you can soar to new heights of fitness, performance and self-confidence.

• Meditation is a tremendously effective self-improvement method. The most scientifically-studied program is Transcendental Meditation (TM), an effortless technique that sweeps out mental stress and fatigue and replaces it with clarity, energy and fluid coordination between mind and body. In addition to the many health benefits of TM, studies show that it helps improve agility, reaction time, coordination and respiratory / circulatory efficiency. Athletes who practice TM say it helps them recover faster. 

6. Biomechanical Training:

In order to minimize injuries and maximize peformance you must learn correct application of body parts. Dr. Michael Yessis, president of Sports Training, Inc.  of Escondido, California, a consultant of leading bodybuilders and athletes, offers these general tips.

• Poor posture and lifting incorrectly can cause back injuries. 

• Learn to breathe correctly. In lifting weights, you inhale, hold on assertion, and exhale when you pass the sticking point or the lift is basically completed.

• If you are just starting on the fitness road, take it very slow. Follow an individualized program. Don’t try to copy the person who has been training for years. It took them a long time to get in great shape.

7. Diet

People eat to stay alive. But considering what many of them put in their shopping carts or in their mouths at greasy spoons you have to marvel at teh body’s ability to stay alive under the avalanche of garbage, aka food. As a result of their eating habits, many people live life wholly in the slow lane. Fatigue is a constant companion.

Eating junk on a regular basis erodes your efforts to develop a heathly, strong, energetic body. Many nutritional experts blame chronic disease on poor diet.

The road to fitness requires that you eat smart. That means a PERFORMANCE NUTRITION program designed to do the following:

• Increase energy for long-term (aerobic) or short-term (anaerobic) endurance.

• Replace substances lost in sweat

• Build strength and power

• Lose fat

• Contribute to general health and improved functioning of bodily processes.

• Relieve paine

• Stimulate mental concentration

• Assist in the repair of injuries and traumatized tissue

• Help speed recovery after workouts.

Daryl Conant, M.Ed