Monday, March 26, 2012

Keys to Motivation

Personal associations and relations with other people are extremely important to exercise motivation. Like it or not, we naturally give weight to what other people are doing and what they think of us.

Because most of us live in a society of unfit people, we must exert unusual personal effort to inspire ourselves to move. People with leadership qualities are best able to muster the magnitude of will power needed.

And one way to refill depleted reservoirs of motivation is to become part of a group where fitness is the norm. It might just be easier to form a sort of “jogging club” composed of husband-and-wife team with some of the children participating.

We would like to see the day when other civic, social, or religious organizations form their own fitness groups, whether it be a walking club or a jogging club.

For Creative Ideas, Lie Down. Your ability to think is greatly affected by your position. On your feet, you think faster, but you are also prone to make hasty, even rush conclusions.

In a standing position, you have more sales resistance, are more commanding, and your ability to remember is at its worst.

Stretched out in a reclined position, you are more apt to think creatively. Thoughts will come slower, more profound, and according to studies at the Michigan State University, memory is at its best. As opposed to the standing position, you are more receptive to suggestions and ideas of others when prone.

Fit to Quote. Here are some “food for motivation” gleaned from physical fitness publications:

  • People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness. – John Wanamaker
  • You show me a man who has an abiding interest in some form of pleasant physical activity, and I’ll show you a person who is feeling better on his job and who has greater stamina. – Dr. Frank L. Bauer
  • It will come as a shock to the sedentary American male that his body is middle-aged by the time he is 26. – T.K. Cureton
  • The ultimate state of physical fitness has been defined in a variety of ways. Doctors have explained fitness in terms of health or lack of disease. Physiologists have called it responses to certain stimuli. Physical educators tend to think of fitness as a factor in the capacity for physical performance. We choose to take the broadest view, that fitness is an evolutionary prescription. In past times, only the fittest survived. Today, only those who are fit will be able to sense the true pleasure of living.Robert Rodale

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Basic Idea of Jogging, Part 2

Jogging Injuries. Injuries that result from jogging are difficult to diagnose. The body uses pain as a signal that something is wrong. But it is sometimes hard for doctors to tell what is causing the pain. The medical advice for joggers is to stop running when a persistent leg pain develops.

Tendonitis is a vague name given to an inflammation of the connecting link between muscle and bone, which can be caused by running. A person who runs too soon is subject to such an injury that can take a considerable time to heal. Muscle pulls and tears can also strike the experienced jogger who runs.

The safest way to avoid injuries is to adopt a sensible program of moderate jogging.

Muscle Cramps. When one of your muscles contracts powerfully and painfully, you have a muscle cramp. The contraction may occur at any time – at rest and during activity. Cramps usually occur without warning. Occasionally, however, you may be able to feel one “building up.”

The cause of the cramp is unknown. But Dr. Peter Karpovich has several ideas concerning the causative factors. First, a cramp may be the result of a lowered threshold of motor nerves, resulting in a sudden increase in the frequency of nerve impulses to the muscles. Second, the threshold of irritability of motor units may be lowered, thereby contracting the units beyond their limits. Since the muscle fiber has contracted too much, it may remain shortened for a long time, unless stretched.

When a cramp occurs, the best remedy is stretching the affected muscle and firmly kneading it. If the leg muscle is affected, walking for a few minutes usually eases the pain. However, if you sit down (as natural impulses dictate), the cramps will probably continue.

If you get cramps frequently, it is best to avoid vigorous movements until you have warmed up properly. It’s a good idea to take a look at your diet, too. A deficiency in calcium, sodium, and vitamin B may help to cause a muscle cramp.

Hormones of the Physically Fit. The human growth hormone (HGH) gets a different treatment in the body of the physically fit person as opposed to an unfit one, according to Lancet magazine, a British medical publication.

In the physically fit, the hormone rises swiftly with exercise and decreases within 30 minutes after exercising. But the unfit person sees it rise during exercise and continues to rise a long while after the activity is over.

The theory that no hormone acts independently of others – but rather that all act together – would indicate that the general hormone-related work of the body is much efficient in those who are physically fit,

Tidbits. Your body produces one billion red blood cells everyday. Every pound of excess fat you carry requires an extra 200 miles of capillaries. Your heart pumps more than 5 quarts of blood every minute, 2,000 gallons a day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Basic Idea of Jogging, Part 1

Most exercise and fitness authorities regard jogging as not primarily to benefit the legs, but to strengthen the heart and lungs, thus preventing heart attacks.

The secondary benefits of jogging are cosmetics, emotional, and to calm the mind. But the heart is the target organ of a running program.

Heart disease is common among middle-aged people, and it is getting worse all the time. So, we are excited about jogging.

According to Robert Rodale, the jogging route to heart health is dependent on leg strength. Without healthy legs, we can’t stress the heart effectively by running. Therefore, we should all give very serious thought to building the strength of our legs before we take off on the running track. In other words, walk before we run.

Perhaps jogging would come a lot easier and be an instant pleasure if people were told that they should go on a walking program for three to six months first. It is the promise of almost immediate protection against heart attack and a rapid improvement in appearance and vigor that gets people out jogging. And more self-discipline would be required if a prospective jogger knew that those benefits would have to wait half a year, until a conditioning program were completed.

Preventing Injuries. The best way to prevent jogging injuries is to warm up properly and thoroughly. Walking can be very important to even the experienced jogger as a means to warm up before each workout. Advanced joggers tend to forget how important it is to take time to warm up thoroughly before asking the body to perform close to the limit of physical ability.

Some people need more time to warm up than others. So, a 15-minute walk is not too much before a jogging session.

For a young person, jogging itself may be considered so mild an excuse that it is good for warming up. But older people might be well advised to consider a good 10 to 15 minutes of walking as a logical preliminary to jogging.

Cooling Down Period. Just as important as warming up before exercising or jogging is a cooling down period. Keep in mind that walking is important after jogging.

If you run up to your back door and then go in and sit down, blood can pool in your legs as a result of the vigorous pumping action of the heart that is not matched by muscle action to clear blood from the veins.

So, finish up each jogging session with a cool-down walk.

(Part 2 will be posted next Monday, March 19, 2012)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Choosing One’s Fitness Type

Robert Rodale, publisher of Fitness for Living magazine, lists three broad types of fitness which appeal to average people:

  • Cardiovascular Exercises. These exercises condition heart and lungs to improve oxygen intake and provide protection against heart attacks. Brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, climbing, swimming and sports are the exercises widely used. Exercise increases the heartbeat, thus promoting cardiovascular fitness.

  • Strengthening Exercises. Young people go for body power improvement in a big way, but it also appeals to middle-aged men and women who are looking for greater ability at sports and health benefits like prevention of low back pain. Calisthenics, isometrics (exercises in which muscles are contracted against each other or in opposition to fixed objects) and light weight training are the most popular strength-building exercises.

  • Body-Contouring Exercises. Streamlining waists and hips, trimming down thighs, and filling out the arms are some typical goals of many people. Calisthenics will help, but so will cardiovascular exercises like jogging and swimming. A variety of exercise is best for achieving the goal.

It’s Your Decision. Do some thinking now and decide what kind of fitness you want to achieve. Maybe you are after several kinds of fitness. It might help to list them down in the order you consider important. If peak physical performance is your priority, then go for it.

Next step in blasting yourself into movement is to think of all the types of exercises you know how to do and enjoy doing, particularly the kinds which will help you reach your fitness goal. If your personal list of physical activities does not run to at least seven items, you have a lot of learning and self-education to do to increase your chances of maintaining a constant and pleasurable fitness program.

Right Time to Exercise.
Picking a time for exercise is a problem for some people. Many of the exercise books say that you should set aside a definite time each day for exercise, a practice which probably suits some people but not necessarily all.

The beginners who are only starting to follow an exercise program may get hung up on when to start. He may think he is too groggy in the morning before breakfast, too rushed after breakfast, too busy to exercise at work, and too tired in the evening. Actually, he is just making excuses by telling himself that at certain times of the day he is too lethargic to get moving.

Experienced exercisers know that there is nothing like a little movement to spin the cobwebs out of the mind and perk up flagging spirits, especially if the exercise is something one enjoys. But you have to make a start sometime – anytime – to know that a fitness program can really be fun.

Seek out the fun in fitness, and you’ll be sure to start making time for exercise because almost everyone can make time for fun.