Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fixing One Problem & Cure for Colds

A common thing I encounter is people seeking to improve just one thing with their body.  In my massage practice, someone will ask me to work on the one spot they feel pain.  With personal training, someone will have one set of muscles they want stronger/bigger/less flabby, or one type of fitness such as cardiovascular, or even one type of exercise or equipment they think is best.  It could be the one goal of weight loss or it's the one place they want to have less fat.

The truth is all these things are important- and they are all needed together to create optimum health and fitness.  There may be priorities, but ultimately a balanced and long term approach will not only be the best overall, but do the most for the individual goals as well.   Massage and other soft-tissue work needs to address not just the spot the hurts, but the areas that may be causing the pain.  Exercise should work all the muscles, and, critically, train all the muscles to work together.  A healthy diet will not only help maintain moderate weight, but help build strength, plus reduce the risk of many diseases(just about all actually.)

Here's an exercise example:  A guy want to build up his chest muscles.  However working the chest without also strengthening the back can cause the shoulders and head to pull forward, diminishing the apparent chest size.  He looks contracted instead of expanded, and may develop more serious problems than appearance, such as back pain, less shoulder range of motion, and decreased lung capacity.

Training for and participating in only one sport can cause problems too, especially for young athletes:
Young Tennis Players Who Play Only One Sport Are More Prone To Injuries
ScienceDaily (Nov. 10, 2009)
Researchers who analyzed 3,366 matches in United States Tennis Association junior competition found that players who specialized in only tennis were more likely to withdraw from tournaments for medical reasons, typically injuries.
Cross training with a general fitness program or having more than one sport can lead to more success by reducing injuries, and can develop a more rounded athlete.

Why else is general fitness important?  How about fewer and less severe colds:
Physical Fitness Curbs Frequency and Severity of Colds, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (Nov. 1, 2010)
People who are physically fit and active have fewer and milder colds, indicates research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Working on just one bit of fitness is a great first step, now consider the advantages of a balanced, holistic approach.

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