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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Balance, Strength and Longevity


This morning I reached a milestone.  Standing up on one leg at a time without leaning on anything, I pulled on my shoes and socks without falling over.  Ever since I hired a trainer more than a year ago my balance has been steadily improving.  But it has taken me this long to gain enough strength and balance to pull of this feat.

My goal wasn’t performing successful balancing acts when I finally threw in the towel and hired a trainer.  For years I have known about the scientific studies equating fitness with longevity.  This connection is much more significant than most people realize.  The risks of a sedentary lifestyle equate to a pack-a-day smoking habit.

Knowledge is power but only if you act on that knowledge.  For three years I bought gym memberships, purchased a spectacular exercise machine (which I am trying to sell) and treated myself to a beautiful set of matched weights (which I am also trying to sell).  I even used my equipment a few times. I made a couple of visits to the gym, but with no consistency.

What was wrong?  Most of you already know the answer.  Bottom line for me—exercise causes pain. I am a busy person. I already have enough pain in my day-to-day life.  Last thing I wanted was to spend my limited free time experiencing more pain.

But my scientifically oriented brain just can’t ignore those pesky studies showing that a sedentary life style is as dangerous as smoking.  And after all, longevity is really my life’s work. People visit me from all over the country for advice on how to reduce their risk of dying from prostate cancer. When taken in its entirety, poor fitness is probably even more dangerous than prostate cancer itself.

Hiring a trainer is what finally got me over the hump. By making myself accountable to someone, my exercise became more consistent. It turns out that it’s in my nature not to cancel training sessions lightly because it affects someone else’s livelihood and schedule.  Also, I find the presence of someone with me during exercise is a welcome distraction, making the sessions less miserable.

I say, “over the hump” because once you get started exercising, you soon notice a subjective sense of well-being, more energy, smaller waistline,  more dietary freedom and better balance.  These successes all serve to remind me that my expensive exercise habit is really worth the cost.

There is a lot more to be said in favor of fitness.  The intimate connection between balance and strength alone is a huge issue for my mostly elderly clientele.  Acquiring the right kind of fitness trainer—a discerning one—is also important.  The message is clear:  attaining fitness is achievable.  All you need is enough conviction about the benefits of exercise to break out your checkbook and hire a trainer.  

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