News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Fit For Sisters

There’s a notion that if you’re active during the day this means you’re fit and healthy. This activity — unstructured, undirected, and unfocused toward a fitness goal — actually doesn’t move the needle. While daily activity is important and key to living a healthy life, one’s not going to improve or gain the same benefit of a directed and focused exercise session.

The European Journal of Heart Medicine ran a review of data on 104,000 people. They looked at physiological health markers and asked participants how active they were in daily life, working life, and for recreation/exercise.

They found that those who had the most activity as part of daily life still only reduced heart disease risks marginally. Exercisers and recreational enthusiasts were notably better protected against cardiac disease compared to those who work an active job and those who were not active.

This illustrated that the key is cardiovascular fitness, which comes from training for a given time at moderate-or-above effort. An “active person” is just being active, never really pushing their system to adapt to better fitness.

A few tips from this: An exercise session ought to be directed toward a goal — cardiovascular, muscular, or mobility. Walk briskly with intention to get the heart rate and breathing rate in the proper zone. Strength train with heavy enough weight and pushing far enough to build a stronger muscle. Stretch and flex the body in a way that improves posture and mobility where it’s needed.

This is the basic tenet of exercise science: Unless directed toward improving, you will not improve. If someone reading this has been on the fence, or maybe you’ve done the same thing for years and are unsatisfied with your fitness, remember that unless pushed to progress, at best you’ll just stay the same.


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