Updated: Jun 16, 2021
Original post: September 11, 2010
Fitness is not about struggle and hard work; it’s about smart work and strong mind. Fitness of body starts with fitness of mind. Too many of us set the fitness goal and embark on the task without the proper tools that allow our genetic potential to work with us toward the goal. You have the genetic make up to be lean and fit or fat and unhealthy. Don’t let anyone, including your own self-esteem; lead you to the conclusion that you are stuck with fat genes, or skinny genes that are not alterable.
Your genetic make-up may not be easily changed, but the way these genes work for you can be easily modified. Your metabolism is a direct reflection of your lifestyle choices. You are in charge, not some scapegoat genetic profile. Change the influence on your genes; change the outcome. The right choices make your goals easy to achieve. One of the obvious keys to fitness success is in knowing what those choices are. Research today has unveiled some incredible findings that have changed the way we view nutrition and nutraceutical jumpstarts. They can now be so powerful that fitness is actually quite easy when you really want it bad enough. And when it comes to strength, stamina and muscle performance these new findings provide a fantastic edge. These metabolic tips will be discussed in subsequent articles.
The fitness key that will be the focus of this discussion, plain and simple, is state of mind or life perspective. Without mental focus and conscious strength, fitness of body is not possible. Ok, you’ve heard many times that the mind plays a role in health and fitness. It plays more than a mere role. Your mind is the limiting or the motivating factor no matter which performance-enhancing supplement you’re on. However, the majority of fitness programs not only lack attention to mind health, they literally degrade it through the arduous physical work that creates uncontrolled oxidation. Oxidation is accelerated by physical work and it can degrade body tissues and cellular elements that are crucial to your goal. Oxidation degrades our cells much like rust degrades metal. The brain is more vulnerable to oxidation than most other body tissues and the right nutritional choices help protect and preserving mental and emotional integrity, focus and motivation. In addition, improperly formulated restrictive diets not only consequently lack brain nutrition they usually unknowingly eliminate it through fat-calorie deprivation, allowing mental and emotional integrity to fade. Failure of mental focus results in a battle of your will against your intention. The right food and supplement nutrients alleviate the need to fight or struggle with will power making your fitness goal focussed and clear.
There are a lot of things we can put in the way of staying with our fitness programs when we begin to feel like we’re failing like family, work, careers, lack of physical energy or mental drive and even illness. However, when it boils down to it, all of these factors depend on fitness – every single one of them – your fitness! You need to make your family part of your fitness program at one level or another if it’s to stay consistent and survive long-term. Your children need to adopt these fitness models including dietary fitness, early in life in order to carry these habits life-long. Exercise and fitness are not at all about the fashion model physique. Don’t let it be about this at all. Let it be about the internal changes that lead to better health. Let these underlying enhancements slowly create fitness on the outside spontaneously. Let health be the primary focus and the physical outcome be the secondary consequence. This immediately alleviates much the goal-oriented stress and anxiety. It also causes fitness to creep up on you and your family before you consciously know it. If you set the new lifestyle parameters right now, your children will grow up with fitness being a normal family trait instead of a physically arduous task.
The key is to stay consistent and persistent despite what you see happening or not happening on the outside and change the perspective or reason for the fitness program to a need for basic health. Healthy strong muscle prevents premature aging. As we age lean-muscle mass tends to diminish. This decline is so reliably consistent that muscle mass or the lean body mass is, in fact, one of the markers utilized to help assess biological age. If regular exercise isn’t part of the family’s lifestyle today, it must start immediately, even if it’s just one brisk 20-minute walk each day. Exercise helps maintain lean muscle to keep the body youthful longer. Exercise and healthy muscle maintains strong healthy bones.
There’s much more to skeletal muscle than meets the eye. Exercising the skeletal muscle mass directly works the bone mass, and this, too, helps maintain healthy bone density. Muscle mass is a back-up system for immune system activity. Muscle mass is akin to a functional organ in the body, and although it shouldn’t be used as a reservoir for immune-system fuels like glutamine, it will be the tissue the body falls back on during a health emergency. Exercise helps cope with arthritis. Contrary to conventional thinking, exercise is important even if you’re contending with disease, arthritis included. The endorphin secretions induced by regular and controlled exercise actually help alleviate pain, raising the threshold to help cope. The alternative is a sedentary lifestyle that contributes further to degeneration of tissues.
Body fat contributes to inflammatory hormone production. Research is now showing that the fat mass produces prostaglandin hormones that contribute to mind and body fog. This subclinical inflammation lowers resilience illness and it causes us to age prematurely. This inflammation also interferes with immune system accuracy and agility increasing the risk for diabetes, bone disease, cancer, depression, dementia, chronic inflammation and more.
Stress and body fat mix badly like drinking and driving. Body fat, especially that visceral or mid-body fat, changes the chemistry of corticosteroid activity in the body. When coupled with environmental or social stress, this mid-body fat causes naturally produced corticosteroids to become very harmful. Mind health is also improved by exercise. This enhancement is a function of better neurochemistry induced by exercise such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin health. It’s also supported by the euphoria produced by endorphins that challenging physical exercise produces. Research is also showing that physical exercise, the type that improves blood flow, enhances brain oxygenation and nourishment and improves brain plasticity. This means the brain is more resilient to and has a better chance of recovering from injury. Physical work improves insulin health, metabolism, and obesity.
Studies show that physical activity helps jumpstart natural gene systems involved in regenerating and maintaining insulin health to reverse insulin resistance and diabetes. Improvement of insulin resistance literally enhances biological age and general health; it improves general energy, stamina and strength. Exercise pumps toxins out of the body to improve metabolism and mental health. The heart pumps blood and nutrients out to the periphery of the body, but there’s no automatic system that pumps toxins out of the body with the same effectiveness. The lymphatic system is designed to eliminate metabolic byproducts and toxins which the cells of the body are bathed in. The lymphatic system is pumped by the working muscles. Sedentary lifestyles allow this sludge to back up and choke the cells; it is one reason we get sluggish and weary if we fail to engage in regular physical activity. Imagine that, bathing in your own cellular waste! Get with the program and workout, run or walk briskly at least three times per week, 40 -60 minutes at a time. Turn it into the family program to walk three to four days per week in the initial stages after dinner.
If you have a dog in the family make your canine companion the focal point and make his need to get out your excuse to get off the couch for the 60 minute walk. Then when you’re all fit enough, start running together before dinner a few times per week and visit the gym, community swimming pool, skating rink, soccer field on a few other occasions per week. Mix it up, but keep the weekly frequency and the session length consistent to at least four times per week and 40-60 minutes per session. If you schedule the time of day and days of the week to make this an essential weekly program for the family, success is more likely. If it is not scheduled or well planned regularity is less likely. Working and playing as a family, your program is more effective for each of you. Take responsibility for changing the family legacy right now; you owe it to your children; you owe it to yourself!