I hurt in muscles I didn’t even know I had. This because I have abandoned running/ walking around the property as exercise, and have finally joined a gym – choosing Planet Fitness for their “no gymtimidation” philosophy .
In my “Design Your Own Program” I consult with Kali, one of the trainers, whose, trim but young appearance belies the fact that she has a master’s level qualification in kinesthetics and fitness.
We hone in on do I wanted to lose weight, boost stamina, buff up (shed the “old fart with a beer gut” look is the program I’m looking for). She designs a personal program and introduces me to a variety of instruments of torture worthy of the dungeon at the Tower of London.
I console myself with the quip about “pain is weakness leaving the body.”
A Panacea – Or Will I Die Doing It?
If there really is such a thing as a panacea - some one thing that cures all ills - it must be exercise. Everyone recommends it for everything so far as I can see. At least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (walking or gentle biking) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (running or singles tennis for example) a week, for any able-bodied individual says the DHSS.
This will cure or prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, cancer, depression. Just about everything. And I always like those studies showing exercise far more effective than medicines for diabetes - though I’ve yet to see a drug rep’ promoting rowing machines.
As I work my routine, doing leg presses, pull downs, abdominal twists I try to recall the anatomy. Am I working Trapezius? Latissimus Dorsi?, Serratus Anterior? – stuff that conjures uncomfortable memories of medical school and Professor Warwick – one of the more vindictive member of the faculty who had belittlement and derision down to a fine art.
But “am I healthy enough to exercise?” is a question patients often ask their doctor. The bad news is that, like diet, most doctors have precious little formal training in risks – or benefits – of exercise.
Sites like Mayo Clinic Healthy Life Style and Fitness list criteria for who should consult their doctor - though the old geezer with the oxygen tank, who was peddling away with impressive vigor on a stationary bike next to me, suggests even people with restricting conditions can benefit. He told me he has Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis, but his shortness of breath had improved significantly since he added attending the gym to his pulmonary rehab.
And don’t overlook the stretching Kali admonished me. Primarily to reduce risk of injury, but the literature tells me it will improve my posture and relieve my stress.
Adequate fluid intake is also important. It helps regulate your body temperature and keep your joints lubricated. Again specifics at the Mayo Clinic website – but aim for your urine being pale, as opposed to dark, yellow.
And though sports drinks are heavily marketed if you drink a lot you are liable to overdo the sugar. And if they contain caffeine, this acts as a diuretic (makes you pee more), which is counter-productive.
Gyms are popping up all over, and exercise is becoming big business. You don’t have to join a gym. Any kind of exercise, will benefit our couch-potato culture.
And just remember. A little pain is probably good for you.