By Kevin Hirose – BHK, CSCS
Again, back to the whole weight loss thing. So 150 lbs is a 150 lbs, right? It is but not all weight/mass is created equal. It could be 150 lbs of fat or 150 lbs of muscle or 150 lbs of bone or a combination of the three. This is where body composition comes into play and body weight/mass can lose its importance and meaning. Two people of the same weight, height, age, and gender can appear to have quite different body shape and appearance. In fact, the SAME PERSON AT THE SAME BODY WEIGHT/MASS can look very different:
Yes, that is the same person at the same weight but with a very different body composition and as a result a dramatically different appearance. It is obvious in this case that weight has really lost it importance in the pursuit of being fit and especially looking fit. And also supports the validity and relevance of body composition. Generally, there is a healthy range for men and women, respectively. Too high of a body fat level is obviously unhealthy, especially very high, that is often in tandem with obesity. But excessively low body fat is also unhealthy since the body requires a minimal amount to ensure bodily functions can be maintained and restored. Being ripped or shredded can look impressive but it can also be unhealthy for many people, especially if it has been done in an unnatural or extreme way.
Mood and Well-being
One of the first things that is noticeable with a new client is the improved mood and energy levels, even before noticeable weight loss, increased strength and other benefits of exercise and training. The endorphins released during training can improve mood during and especially after a workout. You may have heard of “runner’s high”, this term is used describe the process of endorphins binding to receptors in the brain, which give a feeling of well-being, reduce sensitivity to or the perception of pain, and also act as a sedative (relaxant) giving on a sense of calmness.
Regular exercise, even light exercise, can increase a sense of well-being, general positive attitude and can even prevent or to help treat mild depression. To help treat depression, it is recommended by www.webmd.com:
“Try to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week. Studies indicate that exercising four or five times a week is even better. Take it easy if you are just beginning. Start exercising for 20 minutes. Then you can build up to 30 minutes.”
Physical exercise and activity not only helps with the physical, but just as importantly, the mental, emotional, and psychological aspects also. In my opinion, it really is the best form of preventative medicine for the overall well-being of a person or even an animal.
The SEATED position can and does put the human body into a series of dysfunctional positions over time potentially causing pain and more importantly creating a body which does not function optimally, often not even close. In addition, being seated for long periods also contributes to a highly sedentary lifestyle, which is a major factor in most modern health concerns and ailments such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Starting from head down to toe, I will briefly explain the postural problems it creates and how it can effect movement and cause pain. These are most of the major the posture and health problems sitting causes:
FORWARD HEAD POSTURE
NECK AND UPPER BACK TENSION
EXCESSIVE KYPHOSIS (UPPER BACK ROUNDING)
LOWER BACK PAIN
TIGHT HIP FLEXORS, INHIBITED GLUTEALS
And according to a website article by Belle Beth Cooper the most common areas of pain for long-term sitters by % are:
lower back – 63%
neck – 53%
shoulder – 38%
wrist – 33%
That is an alarming rate of pain being suffered by office workers and people who do hours of sitting per day and hundreds of hours per year! Although I have 5 postural issues listed, I will only discuss the first one to maintain a reasonable article length:
FORWARD HEAD POSTURE – Forward head posture can be caused by sitting for long periods, especially when looking at a computer screen for hours or looking down at a desk.
This postural deviation puts much strain on the neck (cervical spine) and can cause headaches, neck aches and can eventually lead to shoulder dysfunction. This is just one of the common postural issues seen in many people that can cause an array of physical and health problems such as chronic pain and limited physical capacity.
Other Goals of Success
With the exception of Strength, all of the other fitness goals I have not mentioned are ones related to higher performance. Examples of these performance goals are speed, agility, power, and endurance. The intriguing part is that many of these performance goals can be improved simply by improving some aspect of strength, since strength is the attribute that feeds many other ones, such as speed. No one who is really fast or powerful is really weak. But this really is a topic of discussion in itself reserved for another time.
The fitness industry has evolved and is evolving into something more well-rounded and beneficial for its participants and professionals. However, much of society needs to catch up to the more current trends in fitness and even strength & conditioning. It would be beneficial if more people were educated in a broader definition of fitness and health, beyond the weight on the scale. Not to downplay the benefits of a healthy weight and the treatment of overweight and obesity, but there is much more to a healthy body than being slim. So if the topics discussed in this 2-part article are not a part of your fitness/training routine, perhaps it would be a good idea to include even one or two of them now!