Eusport News #BeActive Tips and Tricks Adopt a balanced attitude towards fitness to improve long-term health

Adopt a balanced attitude towards fitness to improve long-term health

Fuelled by picture-perfect ‘fitspo’ images on social media and buoyed by government initiatives, we are more active now than ever in the past decade. Perhaps not coincidentally, I have also observed an increasing incidence of sport injuries in my practice, In fact, some of them are significant enough to warrant surgery.

While accidents happen, most of the injuries I encounter result from improper form, inadequate conditioning and overtraining. And it could indicate disadvantageous attitude towards fitness and health – one that may lead to a poorer quality of life.

Undoubtedly, exercise is important for our overall health. It boosts the immune system, keeps the heart strong and enhances mental wellbeing. But we have to approach it with the correct mindset to enjoy its full benefits. Here are some sensible ways to think about fitness:

1.Fitness and health are different

Fitness and health are often used interchangeably in our vocabulary. But let me offer this distinction: fitness is the ability to perform a physical task while health explains a person’s state of wellbeing – a fit person is not necessarily a healthy person. Elite athletes who regularly push their bodies beyond appropriate levels of stress are also often afflicted by physical and biochemical injuries like joint pain and hormonal imbalance.

Although setting personal fitness goals can be useful motivation to stick to a workout regimen, it is important not to sacrifice health in the pursuit of them. We reap the best benefits of exercise when there is balance between the two.

2. Well-rounded is healthy

A balanced fitness plan is one that incorporates cardio activity, strength training and core exercise. Cardio exercise helps maintain heart function, and muscle tone keeps our bones strong, while core fitness enhances stability and balance.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a well-rounded and efficient exercise that combines all three components of fitness into a compact workout, making it particularly useful for time-starved working professionals. However, as the intensity of HIIT can take a toll on the body, it should be interspersed with rest and active recovery sessions like low intensity, steady state training and pilates.

3. Pain is not gain

Although many people like to wear muscle aches as a badge of honour, pain is a poor measure of the effectiveness of a workout. Some post-exercise muscle fatigue is normal, but muscle soreness that lasts for more than 24 hours may be an indication of overtraining, and can lead to chronic injury.

Consider visiting a physiotherapist to address body aches and pains, as well as to learn about your body mechanics. And while I am generally for any form of pain relief that proves effective, I want to caution against methods that involve vigourous manipulation of the neck and spine, as it is a risk factor for stroke. Ultimately, do consult an orthopaedic doctor if your symptoms do not improve after a reasonable amount of time.

This major push towards fitness has the potential to create a positive and lasting impact on overall health, but only if it is matched with a wholesome attitude towards exercise.

The deterioration of the musculoskeletal system due to aging is inevitable, but with proper care and moderation of one’s exercise regime, serious injuries or harmful long-term effects can be avoided. Adopt a balanced perspective towards fitness and healthy living now, and it will be your body’s best defense against the pains of growing old.