As Basic as It Gets Part 1

As Basic as It Gets Part 1

I received an e-mail from a man who stated that he has never been in shape in his entire life but now wants to be. At age 32, he has fallen in love and wants to get himself into not just “good shape” but “great shape.” Yet he freely admitted in his e-mail, “John, I don’t know the first thing about exercise.I don’t know where to begin. Can you help me?”

His e-mail got me to thinking. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are many, many people who are in the same boat. They know they should exercise. They know they must exercise in order to get in to shape and remain in shape. But they don’t know the first thing about exercise. So let’s address the question, What is exercise?

The basics of exercise are:

Stimulus to Muscles of the Body = Adaptive Response

This, my friends, is as basic as it gets. But the truth is that it is often overlooked. A Stimulus (in this case, exercise) acts upon the Muscles and skeletal structure of the body to create a specific and desired Adaptive Response (in this case, added muscles mass, fat loss, and enhanced metabolism for starters). It’s similar to going to the beach and lying in the sun in order to get a suntan. The sun does not make the suntan—it is created by the body’s adaptive response to the stimulus, which in this example is the sunlight. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

The Definition of Exercise

Exercise is performing a demanding and meaningful physical activity of sufficient intensity and duration to stimulate the muscles of the body to create a specific and desirable metabolic adaptive response safely and within a minimum period of time.

Think about each italicized word in this definition for a moment. Exercise needs to be of a sufficient intensity and duration to cause the body to initiate its own growth and improvement. Yet, in order to qualify under this definition, it must be safe. In other words, no part of the body should improve at the expense of another (i.e,, don’t trash your knees and lower back to do it!)

Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

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