The phrase “crash diet” is well-known in our society and its connotation has never been a positive one. We all know that drastic changes may work once in a while to jump-start a transition to an overall healthier diet, but this style of eating rarely works for the long haul. Dining on cabbage soup day in and day out is not sustainable. Exercise works the same way. Grueling, intense workouts have their place but by no means are they the be all and end all to fitness.
As we get older, wiser, and more in tune with our bodies we usually realize that the push till you puke boot camp class is great but continue with a boot camp only regimen and your body will eventually start to talk to you. By understanding and implementing the five components of physical fitness you enjoy more variety in your routine and be and less prone to injury. Keep your body in good working condition by making sure you touch upon each aspect in a manner that you can continue with for the long haul. The five components are:
-Cardiovascular fitness: Walking, running, dancing, biking…find what works for you and keep at it!
-Muscular strength: It’s not just for body builders, research has shown that the benefits of strength training are numerous. Read more about these here and here.
-Muscular endurance: A side benefit of both cardio and strength training, muscular endurance allows you to work longer and stronger. Interval training is great for building muscular endurance as are isometric exercises (think planks, wall sits, etc.)
-Flexibility: You won’t get very far in any exercise regime if you neglect stretching. The red-headed step child of fitness, stretching is often overlooked and under appreciated. Think of it as balancing out everything else you do. Constant contracting with no release can wreak havoc on your body, especially in the knees and back.
-Body composition: Keeping your fat to muscle ratio at a healthy level is essential for a properly functioning body. Exercise helps with this but you can’t out exercise a bad diet. Keeping track of your weight is a good thing, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Paying attention to how your clothes fit and tracking body fat can help give you a better picture of where you stand.
Try implementing these five components and you will see marked improvements in the way you look, feel, and perform. Exercise should be a part of your life, not something that gets in the way of it.