res·o·lu·tion: a firm decision to do or not do something

 

  • Person #1 ~ spin class cartoonHer resolution for the New Year was to go for a 2-mile walk with friends each weekday.
  • Person #2 ~ Her resolution for the New Year was to join a gym, a 30-minute spin class and use the machines for another 30 minutes.
  • Person #3 ~ His resolution for the New Year was to work out every day before work for an hour with a trainer.
  • Person #4 ~ His resolution for the New Year was to work out at the gym 3 days a week and hike with the kids on weekends.

EACH NEW YEAR millions resolve to do or not do all kinds of things. Whether they stick to them or not depends on many different things: enjoyment, time, family and friends support, finances, practicality, safety, convenience, character, training, common sense, and purpose.

Practically everyone knows exercise is important so as the New Year approaches the resolve to get fit, exercise more, look and feel better and lose weight, gym memberships soar and for the first few months of the New Year the gyms are full of huffing, puffing, enthusiastic resolute bodies.

It is estimated that by April up to 80% will no longer use their gym membership.

Why? Boredom, injury, poor planning. You name it.

smiling hikerWhat is the Key to Continuing a Safe, Effective, Workout Resolution?
Are you enjoying the activity? You must enjoy your activity whatever it is. Otherwise you won’t keep on. When I take patient’s histories it includes asking about their exercise and sports history. What I find is that they stopped because they were bored, got hurt, or bit off more than they could chew.

Too many people go to the gym, ignore their muscles and watch TV while working out because they are bored. You should be listening to your body. You should be enjoying what your muscles are doing and telling you. You should be aware. Your body will tell you what you can and cannot do if you listen.

“The first step in rebuilding your body is to evaluate your present situation.” —Bonnie Prudden

Before you begin you need to ask yourself some questions. Your answers must be realistic. And there needs to be a plan.

How much time do I have? What are my strengths and weaknesses? What do I want to change? What is my fitness goal? How will it fit into my typical day? How much time do I have to make it happen? What is my budget? Do I want to do this inside or outside? If outside, where am I and what is available? Am I near the ocean, mountains, city parks, desert trails? If I want to be inside or around my house what do I have available to me? Do I have home exercise equipment, stairs or pool? Do I want to exercise with friends or alone?

two seniors walking for exerciseSample Overview and Evaluation

  • I used to play tennis but haven’t done so in 7 years.
  • I tire more easily than I did.
  • My hips hurt.
  • I still have good abdominal strength.
  • I still have good back and hamstring flexibility.
  • I’ve lost a few pounds.
  • My stress level has let up. Phew!

Sample Goals
I want to take up tennis again. To do this I will need to:

  • Strengthen my upper body
  • Increase endurance
  • Continue to lose weight: another 5 pounds will make my hips happier.

Hummmmmm you say. Sounds simple enough. And if you have answered all of the above questions in the overview truthfully that is a good start. You will not be bored and you will have planned your time element and goals that can be managed and met. However, you must accomplish your goals SAFELY. Otherwise you will be hurt and give up.

You cannot climb the mountain without first climbing the hill. Err on the side of too little before taking on more. Ease your body into the new vision of YOU, the one who is enjoying your chosen route to feeling better, looking better and meeting your goal. Your muscles will thank you for taking care of them, listening to them and working them sensibly.

Beware of…

  • Machines that can demand too much because they do not listen to your body.
  • Trainers who often have very little training and too much ego.
  • Gym memberships that count on you dropping out after 6 weeks.
  • Friends and Family who don’t really support your goal.

Sample Program
ALWAYS warm up first. A warm-up should consist of rhythmic reaching and twisting exercises that warm the entire body. A warm muscle is 20% safer and more efficient than a cold muscle. Stretching is not a warm-up.

For more information on proper warm-ups, click here and here.

  1. playing tennisJoin a tennis club. This will of course require money output. Otherwise open city courts are a possibility. In any case, getting on the courts will require planning and scheduling.
  2. Strengthening. There are at least two ways to increase strength and at least a hundred reasons for doing so. The two ways you can improve strength are by repetition of a given correct movement and by movement against resistance.
    • Upper body strength. This can be done with or without machines. If with machines, gym membership and time coming and going have to be taken into consideration. If at home, push-ups, hand weight liftingheld weights in one form or another and chinning bars in the doorway are all options; support the bar with an extra bracket. If trees are a part of your yard consider a climbing rope like the ones that used to be a part of every school gymnasium. Some playgrounds still have horizontal ladders. See Pushing Through Pushups.
  1. Endurance. Running has value. It improves the action of both the heart and lungs, it strengthens legs and gluteals and it gives feet the needed workout to release tightened muscles. Safe running should be done on trails, tracks or the beach, NOT on the road. Legs resent hard surfaces. Trails are best because they use the muscles in different ways and muscles like variety.
    • Running inside your home is not only convenient but also takes less time and doesn’t cost anything. However, unlike trails, the floor does not offer your muscles variety, therefore you must offer walking for exercise senior citizenthem variety. You can do this by setting up a running pattern. Plain run, high knee lifts, apart-together, scissors, side-to-side jump, front to back jump, twists jump, hops, toes in and out, forward and back kick-ups. To best accomplish this, do it to music. Start with a short piece of 1 or 2 minutes with a tempo that fits your pace. As your endurance improves over time, gradually increase the length of the song you are using.

For more information and to help track your progress, read some of my other blogs: Shout It Out: A Case for improved Lung Capacity (June 2016) and What’s Your Daily Dozen? (January 2015).

KEEP FIT and BE HAPPY this entire New Year!

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If you have questions or need help, email me at enid@bpruddencom.wwwaz1-lr2.supercp.com.

For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bpruddencom.wwwaz1-lr2.supercp.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®.