Thursday, June 30, 2011

“Am I fit?” - The million dollar question

"Am I fit?" How many times would you have asked yourself this question? Self-evaluation on fitness is tough because you never know what you are supposed to be looking for! Even a "slim" woman could be unhealthy. Conversely, a "stout" man could be really fit. So what are the criteria?

Let's reflect just a little bit on fitness and what it means.

Stand in front of a full-length mirror and take a good, hard look at yourself. Do you see a slouching body that needs to stand tall? Pinch your midriff. Are your fingers picking up a roll of fat? Smile. Does your face glow; do you feel energetic; are you in shape?

Remember, your mirror tells you a lot. Often, it is more accurate than the opinions of people around, so pay attention!

These questions tell you where you are right now. But, as you are aware, your fitness status could keep changing. There could be phases in your life where exercise is minimal such as during the monsoon season, or when you are on a vacation. You have to make a conscious decision to get started as soon as possible.

Self-evaluate your score; then use the result as a tool to fine-tune your mindset and daily habits. There is no need to aim for the moon but, believe me, you will know when you reach your goal.

Your body will tell you.

5 Questions: Answer 'Yes' or 'No'

1. Do you start exercise programmes that you are able to stick to?

2. Are you currently doing any form of exercise?

2. Do you know what you want to achieve from your exercise programe? (For example lose weight, get into better shape, improve your stamina or remain fit.)

3. Do you pay attention to correct exercise technique when you workout?

5. Does exercise improve your mood and help you cope better with stress?

If you have answered 'Yes' to at least 4 questions, then you have the right fitness attitude. If not, you need to motivate yourself and get started on a regular fitness regimen. Motivation is a crucial factor in any exercise regimen. Without motivation, it is all too easy to make excuses to slack off. Slacking off for a day can turn into slacking off for a week, a month, and eventually quitting the programme altogether.

Set yourself achievable goals and enjoy your work-outs. Most important is to engage in an activity you enjoy. You should look forward to your work-out sessions. Also is it essential to cultivate the right attitude to exercise. Physical activity can relieve depression and stress, improve work performance and boost your self-esteem.

Do you know?

* Regular physical exercise reduces your chances of getting heart disease.

* Different exercises give you different benefits. So incorporate stretching, strength and aerobic exercises into your fitness programme.

* Exercise improves sleep patterns. You will sleep soundly and restfully after your day's workout.

* Everyone needs exercise. Exercise is not only for those who are out of shape.

* Muscles are a vital part of the human body. Regular exercise will keep you toned, strong and in-shape.

* As you become physically fit, you will find that you have more energy and your levels of fatigue and stress will reduce.

* A strong body improves posture, increases bone density and improves the metabolic rate.

The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist.