Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Thanksgiving is here! The time of year where we are supposed to eat as many portions, of as much as we can, of whatever we like, and sit on the couch watching football, with no regret….right? No! Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. I feel we can all find things to be thankful for whether or not our life is perfect. I am thankful for having a great job and to be surrounded by good people. I am thankful to have; a wonderful family, great friends, been born and raised in a small town with a great deal of community support and to now live in a another great small town with equally great community support.
So, what are you thankful for? My guess is that you found something. However, if I were to bet on what you gave thanks for, I would bet you did not give thanks to your body! I am a personal trainer and in my list above, I forgot to list it. Perhaps you gave thanks for your health and we should. Without our health we cannot exist. None the less, our body deserves a separate thank you since it does so much for us.
Without the body we would simply be a mind and a spirit. Our body allows our mind and spirit to be productive. Our minds could not communicate an idea without our tongue, lips, lungs and vocal chords working in unison to produce sound. That idea could not be constructed without our arm, hands, fingers and opposable thumbs to assemble it. Without our body the constructed idea could not be moved to other people for use. Similarly, our spirit could not help a friend, family member or stranger who is in need without our body. We are unable to show affection to others from our spirit without touch, expressions or body language. It is often thought that the mind and spirit are trapped inside the body, but perhaps the truth is that the body actually allows these two entities to be free.
So how do we give thanks to our bodies? For some people who work physically demanding jobs, or who have malnourished bodies, maybe sitting on the couch watching football and feasting on high calorie foods is a way to thank their bodies. For others, to best give thanks to their body maybe a walk before and after your thanksgiving meal is a good idea. A person struggling to lose weight may give thanks to their body by trying some of everything on the thanksgiving spread, but only eating very small portions of those foods. Perhaps you may need to give thanks to an aching body by taking a yoga class or by getting a massage. There are so many ways to give thanks to your body but the key is to think about what is best for your body and then, thank it!

Over the past fifteen years a huge emphasis has been placed on health and fitness. Most of us are very aware that we influence our health through diet and exercise. Usually, health professionals tend to encourage individuals to eat a healthy diet and improve upon fitness components such as cardiovascular health, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, as well as body composition. As a result, most of us who exercise focus on these areas and while they are all important to consider, these components exclude a few pieces to the complete puzzle of health.

Perhaps the piece of the puzzle that ties together all other components of health and fitness is the quality of movement. Some professionals, including myself, would argue that without good movement none of the components above are of much importance. I have observed very few people who move without compensations. Compensations often occur because we spend our day in less than ideal positions such as sitting, driving or using the same motion repetitively in sporting activities. While it is true that in order to be healthy you need to eat the right foods, have a strong heart, have strong capable muscles, and keep your body fat relatively low, if the movement patterns we use on a daily basis are compensatory, long term exercise may be deterred because of pain or a lack of desire to move.

For example, someone with knee pain who needs to improve their cardiovascular fitness may not be able to walk on a treadmill or ride a bike because of discomfort. While this individual’s pain may have come from an acute injury, it is also possible that this person’s knee pain could have been caused by movement compensations throughout their lifetime. None the less, this individual’s knee pain could prevent them from reaching their goals of improving cardiovascular fitness. Perhaps this highlights that our path to moving often should first include moving well.

The first step to moving well is to get out of pain. If you are in pain, you should consult a doctor or a physical therapist. Hopefully, you do not have pain. If you are not in pain, it may be a good idea to get a movement assessment by an individual who understand movement compensations and corrective exercise.

Understanding how people move and how to address movement dysfunction through corrective exercise can enhance an individual’s workout, athletic performance and quality of life. Corrective exercise programs can be designed to supplement an individual’s current workout program whether that person is exercising on their own or with a trainer and can also be designed to bridge the gap between physical activity and a return to every day movement in life and sporting activities.

Labor Day Swim

Posted: October 10, 2013 in Articles, Exercises, Thought of the Day
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On Labor Day, Diana Nyad completed her childhood dream of swimming the more than one hundred mile distance between Cuba and the Florida Keys, becoming the first person to do so without a protective cage. Not only did Nyad have to complete this journey without a protective cage, for her record to be official, she had to swim continuously until the journey was complete. This requirement caused eating and staying hydrated to be a difficult task. Additionally, staying awake for fifty three hours straight was a bit of a challenge as well. Perhaps the most difficult part of Nyad’s swim was the large amount of salt water she ingested with every breath caused by the protective jellyfish mask she wore, which put her in a severely dehydrated state.

To me, act of athleticism did not seem like much fun. Initially, this appeared to be a senseless act to accomplish a personal goal and not to mention, downright crazy. I told one of my clients that if they ever hear about me participating in such a heroic endeavor, to find me and remind me that it is not something I want to do. Conversely, the truth is there is much to learn from Nyad’s swim. The truth is I have nothing but respect for what was accomplished. The efforts put into preparing for the swim and the extreme conditions that were endured are something we all should admire.

However, what I admire most about Nyad’s Labor Day swim is that she completed this swim on her fifth try and at sixty four years of age. Let me be clear, I do not feel sixty four is old. Undoubtedly, Diana Nyad has proven that. But, I don’t think any of us would blame a sixty four year old for giving up on such a physically exhausting goal, especially after failing on four previous attempts over the past thirty five years. But, she didn’t give up. She continued to improve both mentally and physically. Nyad didn’t care that she was sixty four; she simply wanted to get better. She wanted to accomplish a goal, set a record and catch the dream she had been chasing since she was eight!

While Nyad’s swim was a bit crazy, it was not just a senseless act to accomplish a personal goal. Nyad swam to inspire us to not give up and to prove that we are never too old to chase our dreams. Many of us may not be old or ever dream of attempting a physical feat such as previously described. But, I hope we are at least inspired to undertake a new task which may have previously seemed unattainable, continue to work on a previous goal that may have become too challenging and realize that we shouldn’t let trivial difficulties get in the way of things that would be beneficial, fun and enjoyable.

Here is a sneak peak of an article I just wrote for my new job in Palm Beach!

As golfers, each time we go out on the course we want to improve upon the performance of our previous round. Many of us will practice the various aspects of our game for hours in hopes of improving our score one or two strokes. Also, to assure that we are playing our best golf we research, experiment with and analyze the equipment we use to find the optimal clubs, balls and other golf paraphernalia that will put us in the best position to play well.

While practice and equipment are certainly very important parts of a good golf game, an investment in the performance of one’s own body may be the most important aspect of golf. Unfortunately this is often times overlooked. In order to play elite golf, simply having an able body is not enough. If focused practice and good equipment was all a golfer needed to be great, we would all be great at golf. The biggest difference between a professional golfer on the tour and the guy who cannot get on the tour is the difference in what they can do with their body. They both have access to top equipment, and spend hours practicing their golf game, however one achieves success and the other does not. Therefore, the golfer needs to have their body functioning in its top condition to really have an advantage.

The good news is scientific research and lots of experience is showing us what forms of exercise work best for golfers. Programs such as the Titleist Performance Institute and the National Academy of Sports Medicine are giving us great information as to how to screen golfers for weaknesses and mobility restrictions which directly impact golf game. This year we have comprised a golf fitness team here at Lost Tree which is more than qualified to help maximize your body’s potential, so you can get the most out of your golf swing. We will be offering group exercise classes, special one on one personal training sessions for pre golf warm ups, golf movement screens and much more. Please contact the Lost Tree Spa and Fitness Center for more information and keep an eye out for informational sessions about golf fitness.