One Body
One Life

It seems that every store I stop into these days bombards me with health and fitness magazines. Just last Friday, after I ran 12 miles in a hilly park, I stopped at 7-11 for some water. After several minutes I managed to drag my battered body out of the car and hobble up to the counter. Leaning against it for a respite, ignoring the 5 people on line behind me silently cursing me to move faster, I spied the latest swimsuit issue. The model on the cover is evidently the "ideal" body (more on this in a bit,) 5'11" and possibly 110 lbs. Inwardly I growled. I am SURE she does not have to drag herself up and down hills for several hours a week, nor log miles on the treadmill or the elliptical in search of health and fitness. Or does she? After paying I limped my way towards my car, past another magazine rack. Several issues cried out at me "Six Weeks to a Flat Belly!" "Be Beach Body Ready in Just Six Weeks!" Six weeks? I haven't been beach body ready for the past six years! Ignoring my body's craving to return to my heated car seat, I perused through the magazine issues. The models, all 108 lbs apiece were shown performing 5 to 6 simple exercises holding approximately 3 lb. weights in each hand. Three pounds! I graduated from three pound weights in Kindergarten! Where were the 30 lb. bars, the 12 Kg Kettleful, the suspension bands? Wow! Could it possibly be that I had missed the boat? In actuality, all I really need to do are these 5 easy exercises, use only 3 lbs, for six weeks and I will LOOK LIKE THAT COVER MODEL? "Oh my gosh," I thought, "this is too good to be true!"

Well, do you remember your mother telling you that is something seems to good to be true it probably isn't? Also that there is no free lunch? Your Mom was right. Obviously I cannot speak for all the cover models paraded before us. I am sure some work out (with more than 3 lb. weights,) some starve themselves to appear waif-like and some are just they ones we love to hate, those who are genetically blessed. We've all had one of those friends. As far as the rest of us, after genetics, life's rules of health and fitness apply basically equally.

Magazines present the thin, pretty girls on their covers as this is what is pushed in our society as "perfect" beauty, and beauty sells. Not only in the form of the human body. Have you ever gone into a restaurant and ordered something beautifully depicted in picture on the menu? When the item arrives it looks nothing like the photo. We might, however, purchase that same item a second time, hoping again that it will match that mouth watering picture. We do the same type of thing purchasing books and issues showing thin pretty girls (or muscular handsome men) hoping and desiring that ultimate physique. The pretty truth is though, true fitness doesn't come easily. It takes discipline and hard work. Also, there is no "perfect" physique.

Not only does fitness require discipline and commitment, it also has many aspects, including but not limited to; cardiovascular capability, muscular strength and endurance, agility, flexibility and balance. Some aspects can be trained simultaneously, others require individual attention. But anyone who tells you that one aspect of fitness is all you need is not only misleading you but also misleading themselves. I have heard various fitness Gurus over the years claim that all you need to be physically healthy is "Yoga" or only "Body Building" or "only running." The truth is we all need some aspects of each of these venues. Flexibility and balance from Yoga, strength from "Body Building" or resistance training and cardiovascular fitness from running. And these are only 3 examples of areas we can all utilize in order to achieve fitness and health. The avenues we choose, how much we perform and how intense we perform each area all depends upon the individual's goal and current fitness level. A trained professional can help you get started or tweak a workout program if you have already started one. More next month about choosing a trained personal fitness professional.

As far as a "perfect" physique, I believe that to be a myth. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" has never been more true than it is today. In our society we have freedom to choose colors, styles, fabrics, shoes, anything we can think of to help us express ourselves. Some people like bright colors, others dark, some conservative others flamboyant. Yet somewhere along the line we've been pigeon-holed into believing there is ONE RIGHT BODY TYPE! I say, if your muscles are strong, if you have balance, agility, if are not over fat and have good cardiovascular strength your body type is perfect for you. For some reason, if health issues keep you from maintaining fitness in all areas and you persevere where you can, then your body is perfect for you. We have one body and much of that body type is genetically hoisted upon us. Rather than pout, embrace! Remember,one body, one life, many perfect physique types and many aspects of fitness. Enjoy!