The Importance of Personal Fitness – Living Life the Fit Way
Let’s talk about personal fitness! We all want to look good. We all want to feel good. And while for maybe 1% (or less) of us these things come naturally and without effort, for the remaining 99% (or more) of us it’s just not going to happen unless we make it happen!
As a child, you probably stayed active enough to be fit, to have energy, to have a positive outlook on life. Maybe in high school you played sports or were involved in cheerleading or gymnastics. And you may have had some very active, fit years in college. But all too often real life – life after school – squeezes out exercising. Maybe it gets moved to the bottom of the list. Maybe it drops off the list altogether!
As we get older, our schedules often become more hectic. Between jobs, kids, going for advanced degrees, taking care of elderly parents, it can seem impossible (maybe even a little selfish or irresponsible) to carve out time to take care of ourselves. But also, as we get older, taking care of ourselves becomes more crucial in terms of our health, longevity and happiness.
What is Personal Fitness?
There is no clear-cut, definite definition of “personal fitness.” It’s a subjective term, therefore it reflects different goals and needs in every person. If it could be clearly defined I believe it would be simply as having the ability and energy to do what you need and/or want to do – climb stairs, lift weights, run, hike, keep up with kids, etc. Everyone has their own personal definition of “personal fitness” and this definition is fluid, changing over time as life changes. However, our fitness remains important. Being healthy is one of those things we often take for granted, and we fail to realize just how important it is until it’s gone.
Some Scary Stats
For every excuse used to not exercise there are at least two reasons why we should. Let’s look at some scary stats. According to the CDC a sedentary lifestyle can be a major risk factor for heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. Approximately 610,000 Americans die of heart disease every year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. (“Heart Disease in the United States,” https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm)
Lack of exercise can often lead to life-threatening diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity (and all the diseases and health problems carrying excessive weight can cause or exacerbate).
Ways to Sneak Personal Fitness into Your Busy Life
The term “exercise” often brings to mind gyms with sweaty people lifting weights or running on treadmills but it actually encompasses so much more. Are you a parent? Then you’ve probably run after your kids, carried them to bed, played touch football or swam with them. Do you work in an office building? Then you probably have a choice between taking the elevator and taking the stairs. Do you have a dog? You probably walk him! Exercise can be a part of everyone’s day, every day!
Here are a few tips for sneaking exercise into your day:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk to the drug store or library instead of driving.
- Play with your kids in the yard or in a park for a couple of hours a couple of times a week.
- Got a pool? Get in it and SWIM! Make it consistent!
- Have a house to clean? Do it to music!
- Walk your dog for an hour or so each evening.
- Get the kids together, put on some fast music and DANCE! The kids are happy, you’re getting exercise – everyone wins!
- Walk around your neighborhood in the evenings or early mornings.
- Take the kids bike riding!
Of course there are the more traditional ways of exercising, such as joining the gym, taking an exercise class, etc., and in this blog we’ll be addressing the different paths to personal fitness – for example, personal trainers and small group exercising – as well as comparing and contrasting personal training with fitness coaching, what to look for when hiring a personal trainer or joining a gym, the role diet plays in our fitness, etc.
In the meantime, start taking those stairs!
Additional reading on personal fitness:
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