Nutrition | Cardio Resistance | ROM | Balance | Breathing

My parents' generation did not have the advantages we are blessed with today when it comes to the arena of physical fitness.  While we are bombarded with messages describing myriad ways of getting in shape, the situation back in the 50s, 60s, 70s and to some extent the 80s, was the lack of accurate information as to how to keep oneself healthy.  There was no labeling on food products.  Whole milk was the primary choice.  Even with the first real warnings coming in the 60s, banning cigarette smoking in public places was unheard of.  Correct me if I`m wrong, but I believe the first "quarantining" of smokers was on airplanes.  A sign was mounted about midway thru the cabin and smokers were permitted to light up only in their half.  For the life of me, I can`t remember whether it was the front or the back of the plane (I think the smokers got the front), not that that would have made any difference.  Yes, back then we were just beginning to understand the risks to our health. 

The six elements listed below are critical to your overall health.  These six are synergistic.  Basically, what that means is, each element, by itself, cannot get you to where you want to go.  Only by incorporating all six can an individual achieve their ultimate goal/s.  To neglect any of them is to defeat your ability to reach your full capabilities.  A balanced approach to developing each aspect to a high degree will benefit you many times over in the long run.

                  "The best exercise program in the world cannot overcome poor eating habits"                                                                                                                 Ultimate Best
What you eat goes into each and every cell in your body.  If you don`t pay close attention to what you are eating, you will defeat your best efforts to build a healthy physical structure.  You can`t get around this fact.  Read articles about food.  Take to friends who you know are exercising regularly and ask them what they do nutritionally.  Hire a nutritionist to help work out a meal plan.  Buy a book or two on healthy eating...and, of course, read them.

"The best nutrition program in the world can only get you halfway there if you don`t exercise"                                                                                                                 Ultimate Best 

Strengthening the heart and circulatory system is vital.  Find something you enjoy doing that will elevate your heart rate. By challenging the heart, which is actually one big muscle, the heart will grow stronger.  The healthier the heart, the more blood it can deliver with each beat.  Since the blood delivers the essentials, oxygen and nutritents, a stronger heart can meet the demands of the body with fewer beats per minute, meaning the heart can work more efficiently.  Remember, the heart never takes a break, going 24/7, so you should make that heart as fit as possible.  Keeping your cardio system functioning optimally is one of the tickets to longevity (see 'INFORMATION' for list of benefits)

How long should each cardio session be? >>>    click here to learn why 30 minutes is all you need

You can start losing muscle mass in your mid-to-late 20s.... if you don`t remain active.  And once your strength starts to decline, the list of negatives begins to grow.  Take a look at people you know who are 10-20 years older than yourself. How has the lose of their vitality affected their lives?  Is that your future or do you want to take control of that aspect of your life? (see 'INFORMATION' for list of benefits

        Philosophy of Weight Training                     

Range Of Motion - also known by the names of flexibility or stretching.  Being able to move your body in a wider range of motion reduces the chances for injury and improves athletic performance.  Contrary to the old joke, this is the first thing to go.  Stretching improves blood flow, takes the muscles/tendons out of tension, reduces soreness the next day and feels good. (see 'INFORMATION' for list of benefits)

Maintaining our center of gravity is a skill we develop naturally when we are younger because we are normally much more active, constantly having to adjust our body position as we run, jump and climb.  As we age, most of us reduce our activity level due to family and job obligations.  Responsibilities take front stage.  There is less time in the day for ourselves when we reach our 30s, 40s and 50s.  The great revelation is that those balance skills can be regained without an extensive amount of effort.  Many of the exercises you could be doing have a built-in demand for improved balance, such as running, tennis, basketball and some weightlifting moves, to name just a few.  There are also some simple exercises that you can perform at home that will greatly enhance your balance.

Breathing is as natural as...well...breathing.  It is an involuntary reflex, the same as your heart beating, so we are normally not conscious of this function.  But we should be.  Most of us are shallow breathers.  What I mean by that is when we take a breathe, we usually use only the upper portion of our lungs.  Realize that the lungs are tear-shaped, with the larger interior surface area being toward the bottom (lower rib cage).  By using only the upper portion, we do not optimize our body`s oxygen exchange capacity.  Oxygen is the key component that is needed to react with ATP (the body`s phosphate molecule) to generate energy.  This energy is used in everything from blinking the eyes to digesting food to running after a bus.  Proper breathing during exercise will allow you to perform better, be it running, tennis, spinning class or Tae Bo.  Learn the correct techniques to optimize your efforts.  You don`t want to "leave anything on the table" that will limit you from doing your ultimate best

    "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of  
      overwhelming obstacles."                                                          Christopher Reeve, Actor & Speaker   1952-2004