When I was about 35, I remember being at one of our seminars in Hawaii and I was sweating on a stair master in our hotel suite. My mom was visiting and was impatient with me because she felt I was wasting time. She asked why I thought I needed to spend so much time (45 minutes) doing ‘pretend climbing’ and my answer to her was that I wanted to live a long and healthy life. She harumphed and left the room to wait for me elsewhere. My mom died of emphysema less than a decade later. She never got to enjoy her kids or grandchildren as we’ve all flourished. So sad. She was sedentary, had a poor typical fried ‘American’ diet, she smoked at least 2 packs of Chesterfields daily and never felt good about herself. The combination of that and my father’s early demise from heart disease and cancer impacted me tremendously. I have no parents and my kids have no grandparents.
While I’m not a Nazi about food and exercise, I’m definitely on my game. Yesterday while doing my morning meditation it occurred to me that hundreds of actual processes are occurring every second I’m alive. If you stop for a second and tune in, you can actually hear and feel your heart beat and buzzy kind of vibration all over your body. Cells are being born, multiplying, and the elderly cells are dying. There are thought to be over 75,000 enzymes alone in the body, all assigned specific functions and secreting complex juices this very second. In your brain, at least 100 trillion neurons are exchanging chemicals right now! It came to me that it’s not just a necessity but such a privilege and miracle to navigate our world via this body. Now why wouldn’t I give it exactly what it needs, right?
Momentum is everything! It gives an opportunity for each distinction to build on itself because there is a foundation. I’ve always loved the results of exercise but couldn’t honestly say I loved the process….until about a year ago. I would envy people who craved a workout, a strenuous hike or wicked spin class. And now I know why! I know too much now to be complacent and I love to learn! My trainer, whom you’ve met here on my posts before (Franz Snideman) is rich with the distinctions that I want to understand. Long ago and far away I went through nurse’s training and the part I loved the most was anatomy and physiology. The biology and biochemistry enticed me into the profession and got me out of it too since I learned wearing my heart on my sleeve was too great a distance from the science of the body.
All the juicy parts have been resurrected now and every time I go to the gym, I’m learning such cool stuff. Yesterday he asked me what the best form of fitness is for a tiger. It’s being a tiger!! We humans have forgotten that we started out moving and need to go back to that!
Strength is a mandatory component for health and fitness. And you can be fit but not healthy, or healthy and not fit. And there is no ‘there’, meaning that you’re never finally strong enough or fit enough or healthy enough. That’s good news because this is the best time ever to embrace health and fitness. Here’s why: the body adapts exactly and specifically to whatever imposed demand you provide and that includes when you demand nothing of your body and eat like crap (sorry, but I’ve been there), your body adapts to that too.
Last week we played with a 20 ft. long 4 inch diameter PVC pipe that is half filled with water and sealed on the ends. It’s called a Slosh Pipe and you begin by lifting it over your head and trying to stand still while the force of the water moving from one side to the other nearly takes you off your feet. It literally calls on your whole nervous system to react. When you don’t have time to think about the reaction, your body has to be suddenly neurologically flexible. There are series of these exercises for training your body, emotions and brain that Dr. Ed Thomas pioneered in the Jefferson County Iowa school system. When you see this video (sorry about the quality), what’s amazing is that we started out this way as children, especially long ago when we walked and ran and were agile and flexible. The trend now in forward thinking gyms and some schools is to remind ourselves of what we were created with, moving and stretching and honoring this miraculous complex and precious body. And the year ahead can only be better equipped with a strong mind and body!