Set your own fitness goals Life & Style

Are you sensible about your fitness goals?

Fret not Watching others on social media may give you unhealthy aspirations

Fret not Watching others on social media may give you unhealthy aspirations  

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With no dearth of action and inspiration around us, it’s best not to get swayed into making other’s goals our own

People across age groups are chasing and breaking fitness barriers, especially when it comes to endurance sport. Ultamarathons, triathlons, cyclathons, as well as pushup, burpee and plank challenges: Social media is awash with updates of people going the miles, speeding, and powering through new ‘tests’ ever so frequently. This is good. It means more people are becoming health conscious and want to push boundaries. Or is it?

Reality points towards a mixed bag. For every person approaching it with considered seriousness, there are a few eager to jump in for the wrong reasons.

Ask yourself why you’re doing this.

While the pitch around events/pursuits is only going north, is your intent behind participation honestly clear? Is it a well-considered health goal based on introspection and mindfulness, or is it more an impetuous response influenced and swayed by the noise around?

Why is that even a question?

Social media is a double-edged sword. It helps in spreading ideas and is a powerful medium to share with a wide audience, almost instantly. Therein, also lays danger. The lure of attracting attention and laurels can cloud common sense and due diligence.

How can you set sensible goals?

Assess goals that are SMARTSpecific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. This means you clarify your ideas, focus efforts and use time and resources wisely and productively to set and achieve goals within reasonable time frames. It entails an honest assessment of the reason behind selection, an assessment of preferences as much as ability and valuation of the effort and costs involved.

Do a cost-benefit analysis.

Some pursuits are expensive by all standards. Even if not resource wise, remember time is money too. Is it really worth your while and is it the smart option for you? Would you be able to pay sustained attention to the nutritional and lifestyle changes that will be required? Is the activity making you more prone to injuries, which sometimes come with costs larger than a hospital bill? Most of us aren’t pros. Don’t lose sight of the fact that goals of professional athletes will most likely not be aligned with your reality, or even your needs. Select goals that are relevant to you and serve your purpose better.

Respect the process.

While it’s good to push boundaries, one needs to do it with care and with respect for the process. Not all challenges may serve you well and blindly following them may cause more harm than good. With weak upper body muscles it makes sense to start with a few pushups with attention to form, and not join a pushup challenge. If you’ve not built adequate strength to do a single burpee well, it doesn’t make sense to do countless numbers. Start light to master form and function before loading with heavy weights.

Any good marathoner builds capacity and ensures longevity of running by building mileage gradually and training for it in a structured manner. It’s common sense. The danger of ‘too much, too soon’ is all too real and closer home than we imagine. Shortcuts usually lead to injuries and suffering. Remember, fitness is a process, not a sporadic event. Skimp the process and you’ll experience a crash and burn. Ask yourself if you have the patience and guidance to stay true to training to gradually build resilience and capacity.

A sensible goal is an invaluable tool.

Run, lift, cycle, jump, dance –do any activity you like. Use your body, aim high and keep pushing boundaries. Just do it mindfully. Ensure that the goals you select serve you in the best possible way and that you will be able to sustain them in the long run. Each term goal should contribute to your health – physical, mental and emotional. As with everything you do in life, it should add value, not just sensationalism.

Vani B Pahwa is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, a certified Cancer Exercise Specialist, a Master Rehab Trainer, a Functional Movement, Barefoot Training Specialist, BarefootRX Rehab Specialist, Foot & Gait Analyst, and a BOSU Personal Trainer. She is also a Mohiniyattam dancer.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:45:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/set-sensible-goals-and-sustain-them-in-the-long-run/article25345819.ece

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