Nix the Cardio-loading and Balance Your Fitness This Year

Balanced training pays lifelong dividends.

This is gonna be a decidedly low tech Christmas and new year for me. I have just read Lenny Bernstein’s blog in the Washington Post magazine highlighting a couple of “science fitness” options: an ear bud who whispers sweet workout feedback into your ear and a hovercraft that badgers you to stay on pace. Not interested; sounds a bit sci-fi to me.

Funny how we invest in these “great ideas” that will surely be motivating and then move straight to the new year’s resolutions. Bernstein’s were quite surprising to me. This guy who measures his wins as a 50K run and a 50 mile run, that were “fantastic, if very painful” laments that he “failed again to add strength training, flexibility work or balance exercises to his routine.” He just couldn’t “work it in” with all his running. He’s been cardio-loading, perhaps cardio-overloading.

Then he lists his goals as strength training (with a stage whisper “yeah, dream on”) and getting his 14 year old daughter into a regular exercise routine (about which he comments, “now we’re talking miracles.”)

Why, Mr. Bernstein, this is the season of miracles. And we are in charge of adopting the  “miraculous” and making it shine for our children. Can we please understand two things:

  1. As we get older, strength, balance and flexibility are not only essential but the core to allowing us to continue moving fast on our feet and
  2. We establish the balance of routine at a young age, perhaps as early as 14.

May I suggest, that recommendations speak more loudly and teaching lands more securely when we practice what we preach. Health and fitness is not just cardio-loading. It comes as a package deal. And like Christmas, it’s not in the boxes and bags, It doesn’t come from a store; it’s a little bit more. (Thank you, Mr. Grinch.)

More balance in our training, being reasonable in our expectations and doing things that are fun and give us pleasure, not pain. No one who sees us agonizing after a grueling event will be inspired to kick start their fitness program. Last of all our children. If we want to attract the next generation into fitness and health we need to live it out. All of it – including the strength, balance and flexibility. It’s what makes a healthy respect for our bodies not a one day race, but a lifetime event. Preparation with intention is the smartest game plan.

That’s science fitness. If you want to call it a miracle, go right ahead. But don’t call it fiction. Mr. Bernstein, if you need a hand, give a call and please bring your daughter.

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