The human body is a machine, and a pretty damn cool one at that. It works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for a lifetime. There’s no warrantee or exchange policy, you only get one. People tend to place a higher value on money and “things” rather than their bodies. They’ll spend a lot of time deciding how to spend their last $5 for the week, which restaurant to take out from, or what TV show to DVR; but people don’t think about their bodies like that. Which is a shame because decisions about your body and health will have a greater impact in the long run.
Remember when we went through the whole “YOLO” phase a few years ago? Sure it’s true, you do only live once but how do you want to spend those days? By eating Twinkies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, thus predisposing yourself to a bunch of medical issues? Or by being proactive now, eating to fuel your body properly along with building your fitness levels to live a longer, more balanced life?
Goal setting is a big part of fitness and wellness. Hitting small milestones makes for big victories. I think a goal we should all have is to be better functioning human beings, right? Again, our bodies are machines. In order to hit that goal, we need to fuel our bodies and maintain them properly in order to function at optimal levels. “What is proper fuel and maintenance,” you ask? Plain and simple…food and sleep.
Your body uses the food you consume as an energy source to fuel your daily activities – if you fuel your body with crap, your body will perform like crap. If you fuel your body with whole, nutrient-dense foods, your body will perform like a champ.
Getting a proper amount of sleep at night can be hard for anyone, especially with all the studying and socializing we do in college. However, no matter what your training status – from someone who jogs once a week, to someone who lifts 5 days a week – sleeping allows your body to rest and recover in order to function properly. Get. Enough. Sleep.
Staying active is your investment in the future. Your body needs to be conditioned to undertake the daily demands of life, and still be able to respond to an emergency should it arise. So, if we want to become a better functioning person on a day-to-day basis, what can we do to make that happen (besides eating right & getting enough sleep)?
Recently, the concept of “functional fitness” was brought up to me. What is functional fitness?
Functional fitness utilizes multiple muscles simultaneously to help you achieve better strength, balance, coordination and agility. In simple terms, functional fitness helps your body perform optimally, giving you the ability to do every day activities with ease (going from sitting to standing, pulling yourself up, running, picking something up off the floor, carrying something across the room, etc.). Sounds great right?! So how the hell do you do “functional fitness?” Simple. Any way you can.
Before there were gyms, there was hard work. If you think back in time, we were once hunters and gatherers. Day in and day out, you had to go out and work to be able to live (building your own shelter, hunting your own food, making your own clothes, etc.). There was no equipment involved…it was all physical.
There are functional fitness exercises you can do in the gym, but if your excuse is that you don’t have time to get to the gym, do it where you can. Functional fitness should enhance your day-to-day living, so incorporate exercises into your day to build your fitness level; use your environment to build your fitness level. More often than not, my workouts are things I can do at home. They include running, jumps up on to my rock wall, body weight lunges, push-ups, and more. All simple things that can kick my ass without the cost of having a gym membership or fancy equipment. That doesn’t mean that I don’t use any fancy equipment or a gym membership, however I don’t allow myself to have an excuse for missing an opportunity to be better. Functional fitness helps me do that.
If you put in the work now, it will benefit you in the long run. So put on your sneakers, get lost in a run, pick up something heavy, and challenge yourself. Go get fit and stay fit!