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DO YOUR CHORES Simple household activities help maintain fitness
DO YOUR CHORES Simple household activities help maintain fitness

Your fitness programme should involve day-to-day activities

Ihave been training people forover 15 years, and one thingthat I've discovered is thatwhat works for one need notnecessarily work for the other. Isee many people joining gyms andaping others or blindly followingsomething they have read on theNet or in a fitness journal. Thequestion to be asked here is: doesit help? Does doing so ratchet youup the fitness scale? The answeris a resounding no: all it makesyou is what I would call "fit fornothing."

Cardiovascular fitness is notthe only thing which will improvethe quality of life. You also needto effectively go through the entirerange of motion around alljoints without any difficulty or restriction:

I call that functional fitness.People need to effectivelyproduce, transfer and reduceforce for day to day activity, be itcleaning the house, or climbingthe stairs or getting into a car andgetting out of it. What is the pointof doing a cliched fitness programmeif you can't even squatproperly, or sit down for long,without your back beginning tohurt?

Different people have differentperspectives on fitness. Thinkabout the following statements:"I can do five km on a treadmill in30 minutes, but I have low backpain when I do household chores","I can lift 150 lb in my bench press,but I can't play weekend sports","I play weekend cricket, but mymuscles ache for the next threedays", "I gym one hour a day but Ican't squat, my knees are reallybad" and "I used to be very flexiblewhen I was young, but now I canhardly touch my shins."

I hear such lines day in and dayout. So what is it - what does itmean - to be fit?To begin with, we need to understandthat functional fitness isvery important. You do cardio exercisesfive times a week and youlift weights thrice a week, but ifyou can't carry your child for 30minutes or play a weekend sportor do household chores what areyou doing in your fitness programme?Your routine needs tinkering.Look at labourers and people inblue collar jobs; they are functionallyfitter than people in white collarjobs. The reason: they areactive - on the move - throughthe day. The more you abstainfrom doing normal day-to-day activitiesthe more unfit you become.There is no point just doinga formula cardio programme andweight training with defined angles.

The human body needs tomove through all planes and axesthrough the day, so your fitnessprogramme should consist of somethingwhich closely resemblesday-to-day work. This is of paramountimportance.

For example, I know a friend ofmine who can comfortable run for45 minutes, but if I ask him to do asurya namaskar, he is uneasy andall at sea. All that lunging and lyingdown and getting up, makes himfunctionally weak. He is cardiovascularlyfit, but not fit enough tobend,, twist and carry out otherregular human movements. Rememberwhen we were kids, wenever had a problem climbingtrees or jumping around without acare in the world. It's fine to docardio vascular exercises andweight training, but it's also importantto be functionally fit.

You should be able to effectivelysquat, lunge, push, pull, twistand bend. If there is any componentyou find difficult then thereis a problem in your functionality.Do resume your weekend sportonce you acquire a base level offitness; it's like possessing theelixir of life: movement is so muchfun, because it's like you're playingand there is no better joy thanplaying like children. So do getfunctionally fit without losing anytime.

(The writer is a corrective holisticexercise kinesiologist and experttrainer)S. BASU

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