Isolation Nation!

The practice of face to face social isolation is quickly becoming the norm and along with it so is an abundance of free time for many of our students, athletes and families. I consider this to be a positive in terms of the increased amount of ones’ day for fitness, recovery, hydration and fuel preparation.

In my last column I provided a couple of ideas which would completely stress a person’s cardio-respiratory and muscular systems by simultaneously enhancing agility, strength and endurance. The two links provided enough information to completely transform a person’s fitness over time if they chose to put the work in. The visual examples provided and instruction associated was top notch and frankly, I could have chosen from another thousand quality sites to find the best “Program”.

The fact is, just about everyone today is adept at finding ways in which to improve one’s fitness and there is no perfect “Program”. With a simple search, punching in key words, a person can find information on just about every topic which they can dream up. Punch in “Yoga” for example and you will be taken to not only a listing of local places to involve yourself with yoga, but addresses and GPS coordinates to take you there. There is also an abundance of programs for beginners to advanced athletes. Poses such as the “Downward Dog, Cobra, Tree, Bridge, Four Limbed Staff” are common terms used by those who enhance their flexibility through breathing exercises and meditation. We are essentially all becoming “experts” at finding information. The question is, are we equally adept at putting into practice what we know?

What is the best form of exercise?

I learned the answer to the above question many years ago by a favorite professor of mine named Phyllis McGinley. The year was 1988 and this 62 year young, extremely fit veteran teacher asked our class of undergraduate students the question, “What is the best form of exercise”? We all raised our hands as we wanted to impress her. Running?….Biking?…..Swimming?…..Weight training?… Aerobics? These were the responses which were elicited. She confidently said, “No” following each student’s answer. The simple fact was it didn’t matter what answer we came up with, we would have been wrong. We scratched our heads in silence for some time and she then revealed the answer. What is the best form of exercise?… She repeated. “Whatever exercise a person will engage in everyday, consistently over time”.

Getting oneself off the couch and onto the trail or out from in front of the video game and onto the bicycle is the actual challenge. Finding a physical outlet (or outlets) which a person enjoys and will do is the key. It doesn’t matter how intelligent we are at yoga if we don’t enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if a person is well versed in Pilates or Jazzercise if she hates the group dynamic. It doesn’t matter how much a person spends on a Peloton Bike, if they use it as a coat hanger. Find something you enjoy doing which elevates your heart rate and go do it. The first step is the first step!! I challenge you…. to challenge you!

And enjoy doing it!!

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