Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Is Bad Exercise Better Than Nothing At All?

I know - your automatic answer is "yes".  I mean, with inactivity, obesity and health costs skyrocketing in North America (and the world over), it seems fairly obvious... get out and do something.

But maybe it ain't that easy.

Good thing she's got that massive water bottle.  Wouldn't want to get dehydrated.
You see, if we're talking about people walking on the treadmill while watching television, or reading while lazily spinning on a stationary bike (both of which drive me up the frickin' wall), I would say sure... although it's almost useless, the key word here is "almost".  Meaning, given the choice, they're better off moving than doing the exact same thing in a Lazy Boy while stuffing their face with Cool Ranch Doritos.

"This remote control... is... so... heavy... "

But there's a tipping point - a level of activity at where the risk of injury may actually outweigh the risk of being sedentary.  Now, I think that the majority of people can definitely walk a little closer to the wild side than they currently are - but at the same time, there's a smaller, yet significant trend towards the extreme end of the scale (as there always is in the world of health and fitness) where people are taking on challenges far beyond what they're physically prepared for.  Due to a lack of patience or education (or both), they jump from step 1 to step 9 without progressing through steps 2-8 beforehand.  The result?  Anything from burnout and/or a lack of results to outright injury.

Methinks your spine would prefer you not do this.
So get out there and get moving - but try following a few general rules:
  1. There are no shortcuts - everything takes time, patience and dedication.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either an idiot or trying to sell you something.
  2. Home programs are only as effective as the person who's using them - meaning if you have no idea what your doing, the book or DVD can't correct you if you're wrong.
  3. Moving is better than not moving - but learn to move well (paraphrasing Gray Cook here).
  4. Once you learn to move well - learn to move heavy things.  And then learn to move fast.

Oh, and one final note: although I acknowledged it's better than nothing, don't kid yourself - reading while you walk on the treadmill is, like, super lame.  Seriously.

Now, as Mom said when you were little - get outside and do something.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Random Thoughts from the Weekend

"No, you won't catch me.  Nice try."  (USA Today)
Olympic Athletes and Their Training
I think far too many people look to what has worked for others, and try to use their programs for themselves - without realizing that the programs being used for these athletes were designed specifically for them and their needs.  Remember - you can do everything exactly the same as Usain Bolt... but you probably aren't going to be as fast as him.  Same thing applies to trying achieve the body of some other celebrity by using their "fitness" plan... what's worked for them very likely won't work for you in the same way. 

The Media and Their Influence on Fitness
Far too often I read a report on the "training regimen" used by an athlete/actor for their competition/latest role, and I shudder.  In mainstream media these are often misinterpreted or exaggerated for the sake of the story - but it has the result of making the individual look superhuman.  I read a report on Jessica Ennis' "daily" routine, and there's no way she could physically maintain the schedule described without breaking down within a month (or faster).  My suspicion is that they basically described an entire week as a "typical day", but didn't realize it.  


Sadly, in all of these stories, very little (if anything) is said about their recovery/regeneration techniques.  It would seem that rolling and stretching ain't sexy.  

I guess this doesn't sell newspapers.  Go figure.  (Associated Press)
Do It for the Right Reasons
I don't really care what someone does to stay active - personally, I may find it ridiculous, but if it has you up, moving, and having fun, then who really cares what I think?  That being said, one thing that drives me nuts is when people do something for all the wrong reasons.  Sit-ups?  Sure, they're a tough exercise - actually, rather advanced when done correctly.  And as long as this single movement doesn't make up your entire "core" routine, have at 'er.  But your reason better be something other than "I want a six pack".  Don't do sit-ups because you want a six pack, don't run to lose weight, don't join a step class because you hate it less than you hate spinning.  Find something that you love to do for the sake of doing it, then train to be better at it.  That's a long term formula for success.

That's all I gots for ye.  Have a great week.