Friday, March 16, 2012

Exercise, Or "Move Your Fat Ass"

For me, it's the cheeze-doodle
near the crotch that makes
the picture

Can't look anywhere else now,
can you??
Food is only part of the equation when trying to come up with a formula for great health. “What else could possibly fit into this scientific fancy-pants formula,” you query?

... really? What else do you think I'm gonna say? Exercise! (Or, as I like to call it, “Move Your Fat Ass”. And there are days when that’s putting it nicely.)

Regardless of the end of the dietary spectrum you’re favoring, you’ll agree that paying attention to what you eat and making more conscious choices pays off. Same applies to exercise. You don’t have to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days (look it up, someone did it) or hike a 14-er (Colorado speak for walking 14,000 feet into the sky on the side of a mountain-- we’re psychotic out here) to be fit and in shape, but can we please agree the “rotund couch potato” is not the kind of “in-shape” I'm talking about? Yeah, I’m sure that was a clever punchline at some point. Still. Hard to find the funny in statistics like “68% of American Population is Overweight”. (And that was in 2010-- that trend has only gone up in the last 50 years.)

Exercise programs or tools/gadgets/gizmos you see on late-night informercial TV are a joke, and, like their corresponding fad diet plans, are constructed for you to fail. If you’re no longer fat, uncomfortable, and looking for a quick fix, then you’re no longer their customer! They tend to make exercise look as effortless as pressing a button on your remote. And even if the “super fat-busting” routine or whatchamacallit has some value, there often isn’t nearly enough instruction for how to get the most out of it. Take, for instance, something like the Schmender Ball. (Name changed for comedic value only.) It’s pretty much a smaller version of a standard exercise ball. It’s designed to create an unstable surface, making different muscle groups work (or work harder) than those that work when you’re using only solid ground. When it’s used correctly and consistently, when it’s used to do a variety of exercises for many different muscles and muscle groups, yes, you will notice good changes.

Here’s where the flash-bang smoke-n-mirrors take over. Commercials make it seem like you can design your body like you’re ordering pieces out of a catalog... or maybe an US Weekly. “I want those arms, that chest, that stomach, those legs, that booty...” You can’t spot-treat weight loss! You can’t do only abdominal work and expect your abs to look fabulous The Next Day! It’s time the curtains were pulled back to shine light on the sad sad state of delusional mind that people allow themselves to adopt: weight gain does not happen in one specific part of the body, and neither does weight loss.

The Benefits:
In case you were wondering, here’s why maintaining a healthy weight is good:
-reduces pressure on organs to work as well as they can *coughHEART_DISEASEcough*
-reduces pressure on joints and promotes a more balanced wear-n-tear process *coughHIP_REPLACEMENTcough*
-helps keep emotional and mental health in check *coughDEPRESSIONcough*
-keeps energy and hormones (body chemistry) level *coughSO_MANY_DISEASEScough*
-keeps you alive *coughWHY_DO_YOU_NEED_ANY_FURTHER_INCENTIVEcough*

The How-To:
It’s really much easier than you think, staying healthy. Like adapting your eating habits, it takes repetition. Paleo converts have it the easiest-- the most often suggested workout routine is described as “move around and lift something heavy as often as you can during a week”. Have you ever tried to kill a mastodon? I'm gonna say “no”, but I've seen the cave drawings and the highly-praised, critically acclaimed documentary series called The Flintsones, and it looks like it took a lot of work! They weren’t running 26 miles in one go to make the kill, nor were they trying to haul the family car while they did it. (Watch “The Flinstones”-- they did have cars then!) But they were running fast, and without shoes. They were jumping, trying to get those stungun lasers... sorry, spears... into the fleshy parts of the animal they were trying to eat. They were climbing and swimming and walking and maybe, from time to time, dancing in celebration of the fact that they had enough food to last the week. They didn’t use weird high-tech rubberized tools. They didn’t have cute outfits. They didn’t have machines that did all the work for them.

They moved around.

I am of the firm belief that exercise should be fun, fitting in with my credo that if it doesn’t fit into your lifestyle and isn’t rewarding enough, it won’t work for you. “How could working out possibly be fun”, you wonder?  (You wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder?)

Add. Real. People.

Try activities that are engaging and can provide the chance for spending time with friends (or even making new ones) without feeling like you’re punishing yourself with heavy-duty workouts:

  • dance classes
  • kickboxing
  • yoga
  • gym leagues
    • volleyball tournaments
    • racquetball
    • basketball
*Hell, find a public park with jungle gym equipment and organize time with you and your friends to play like you did in elementary school! Just be sure they have room to play Capture The Flag or Four Square.*

If you’re overwhelmed at the mere idea of physical exertion, spend a little money on yourself and work with a personal trainer once or twice a week-- their job, after all, is to show you how to use your body correctly and keep you from injuring yourself-- and then apply their teachings as often as possible. There’s no shame in admitting that you might need a hand to hold while you get your sea legs.

In the future, I'll discuss more particulars about specific workouts, maybe even produce a video or two for those more visually inclined. The more you can see it working for you and your schedule, the more likely you’ll follow through on something that can have wonderful benefits!

Take pride in your body. Appreciate the marvel that it is. Celebrate that it really is never too late to enjoy the experience of being alive. MOVE!

No comments:

Post a Comment