Benefits of exercise. Good for the heart, lowers cholesterol, keeps you young, increases bone density; the lists goes on. For me, the one benefit that I like is the fact that it allows me to do more activity. This past weekend, I went to a rock climbing gym for the first time. Gripping on the handles to climb up a 20-30 foot wall was tough. However, because I was used to doing pull-ups, my arms were able to handle it. I definitely struggled on the harder course, but was able to complete most of the easier and moderate ones.

Exercising doesn’t have to be just in the gym. At times, your friend invites you to kayak, hike, do a Spartan race, something other than going to the gym. This is when you will realize that the muscles you have been working out come in handy. Having strong legs will benefit you when you hike. You will notice that your legs can handle the incline. Also, since you worked on mechanics of your knees not passing your toes, when you go downhill, you know how to activate your glutes and hamstrings to save your knees. These are things you have a advantage of because you exercise and know your body mechanics.

Lowers the risk of injury.

One of the most beneficial aspects of being fit is the fact that it lowers the risk of injury. Those muscles are well prepared. However, there will be times when you are asked to do something that you NOT accustomed to and this is where the risk goes up. For example, I had a client of mine that got invited to play football over Thanksgiving. Because he wasn’t used to running fast and cutting laterally, he pulled his groin. Out for months and the injury lingered for about 6 months. Could this been avoided? Hard to say, but had he told me he was going to play football, I would have created a workout that specifically worked on agility and exercise those fast twitch muscles used in football. If this were incorporated for months, then the risk of injury would have been low.

Whether it be rock climbing, hiking, biking, swimming, rowing, kayaking, running, or playing sports, PREPARE the body for these activities. And you accomplish that by exercising the muscles used in these activities. One of my biggest regret in my fitness journey is I ran the LA marathon 12 years ago without preparation. I was young, dumb, and naive (should be a song, wait there is something already); thought I could run 26.2 miles because I felt like “I was in shape.” Oh boy, was I wrong. My right knee exploded around mile 15 and I ran the rest of the race miserably. But those orange slices and pretzels sure tasted good. Yes, I finished it, but my knee to this day isn’t the same.

The moral of the story is, PREPARATION IS EVERYTHING. And we accomplish that by getting stronger, improving cardio, and being flexible. Hope you enjoyed this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next Wed…………………….Kei

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