By Delores Day
“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.”
— Jim Rohn
As a fitness and empowerment coach for more than 23 years, I have learned some great truths and developed disciplines that I know help to support my mind, body and soul. I pass onto you what I know is true so that it may inspire your existing activities or encourage you to start up disciplines that maybe you have never done before.
Jim Rohn is one of my great teachers and I love this quote because nobody can argue its validity. Even though I teach that our body is not who we are, it is in fact the beautiful vessel that has the sole purpose of being our vehicle to experience life and support our well-being.
Our body plays a huge role in the quality of our experiences and the overall enjoyment of our life. Therefore, it stands to reason, if we do not care for the vehicle that we call home, it will eventually break down, get worn out, or even worse stop functioning completely.
Loaded with this accurate perspective, I want to present to you one of the single-most important parts of my weekly routine: I have done regular strength training (lifting weights) for more than 25 years consistently. If there was only one habit that I could keep, it would be this one. Indeed, this habit supersedes the rest because of the plethora of benefits that ensue from its regular participation. Let’s go over a few of my favorites.
Muscle is unarguably the single largest contributing factor to the speed of our metabolism. Our metabolism is what determines how much energy (food) we need per day to support our life and all of the continuous chemical operations that go on every second in our bodies. Our metabolism converts what we consume by way of food/drink into this energy required to operate this vehicle. If we want to burn more energy, we need to have more muscle.
More muscle will result in having less fat storage and in its place lean, metabolically active (alive) healthy tissue. I think we can all agree that the concept of having more muscle and less fat is a good idea. Regular and consistent strength training is the only activity that will ensure this result.
Then there is always the benefit of increased respiratory conditioning. When proper training is done, the activity becomes an anaerobic exercise because of the increased oxygen required. This increases the overall health of the lungs because it must learn to use oxygen more efficiently to support the movement. We all need and want to breathe better. Stronger bones which help to reduce skeletal injuries is also a huge reward for doing weight-bearing exercise. It has been studied and proven extensively even in age groups that have never participated in lifting weights before. Everyone will reap benefits, despite age or past experience doing this activity.
For me, lifting weights is not about vanity or image any longer, although the benefits of reaping a visually stronger looking physique is almost unavoidable. No, for me my biggest health impact from strength training is the mental health boost and the elevated body image. The feelings that are commensurate with lifting weights are ones of accomplishment, positivity and an overall feeling of power and increased potential. But, you only get these feelings during or after you do it. Yes, the feelings of satisfaction and enhanced perceived physical appearance far out way the nominal amount of time we must set aside to invest in this activity.
Please know that working out with weights doesn’t make you bigger — cupcakes and too many hotdogs will do that!
No, lifting weights will support and sustain a body that will help you love the life you live. It’s a non-negotiable for me and I find my clients feel the same. I hope that you will either seek out proper education and begin a strength training routine or you will get back to the one you used to do. We are never too old to begin, and I love the quote “Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.”
Let me tell you, my experience working with individuals with debilitating physical conditions is enough for me to look anyone in the eye and say confidently, “Make no excuses, just do what you can!”
Friends, we all have been given a gift — it is the vehicle we use while we are here on this earth. Let us seek to appreciate it, take care of it, and improve upon it in every way possible so that we can live our best lives now. Hope to see you at our local island gym or returning to one that you love.
Peace and love, De Day.
(You can find De at Siesta Key Fitness Center or visit her website at www.de-day.com.)