|Oct1-10, 01:44 PM||#1|
Getting Back In shape.
I often read that if you gain a certain level of fitness ( muscular strength and edurance for example) and then lose it from inactivity, it will be quicker to regain this level of fitness than when you first got it.
If this is true then how does this body memory work?
|Oct5-10, 01:39 PM||#2|
Blog Entries: 1
There are many components of physical fitness, including metabolic, morphological, bone integrity/density, body composition, cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance/strength, agility, balance, etc. Read more on those, here.
Some of these, such as muscle strength and endurence, can decline quite rapidly with lack of use. But they're easily rebuilt, as well, in just a few weeks or months time, provided one doesn't try to push it too hard.
Others, such as agility/balance/coordination can be left unused for years, decades even, and regained in a very short period of time (days, if not even hours). Ever heard the expression, "just like riding a bike?" Case in point: I used to roller skate a lot as a kid, but hadn't done it since I was 13. Last fall, for the first time in 33 years, I tied on a pair of roller skates and hit the rink with friends and our kids. For the first five minutes I was waving my arms all over the place, as if I'd never skated in my life! By the end of the three hours, however, while I wasn't back to my former level of youthful expertise, I was skating backwards, and doing various turns and manuevers with relative ease, about 70% of what I used to be able to do.
Many people believe physical fitness involves just cardio and strength training, but that's not at all it by a long shot. If you really want to be all-around fit, you need to engage in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, not to the point where you're in the top 10% in any given component of physical fitness, but so that you're exercising all components.
The three most important aspects of physical fitness are consistancy (3-4 times a week), variety (exercising all the components), and moderation (to prevent injury). The last is important enough I should have put it first, as injury is the number one reason people cite for not engaging in a physical activity!
Even if you're really out of shape, getting back into shape is easy, provided you don't push it. Exercising lightly for half an hour a day using a simple on-off-on-off-off cycle of days, doing strength training on the first "on" and cardio on the second "on," while varying your activities for achieving each, will pull you out of the couch potato slump in a week or two, provided you stick with it. After a couple of weeks of consistent, well-rounded activity, you can turn it up a notch to the moderate level.
Unless you're in competition, no one needs to go beyond the moderate level. When doing cardio, the best guage is your heart rate. 220-age will give you your max. You should exercise between 70% and 90% of your max, with a target heart rate of 80% of your max. It's actually good to vary your heart rate within this range, but never exceed 90% unless you're under the direct and immediate supervision of a cardiologist! I personally don't exceed 85% of my max heart rate, yet I have the cardio capacity to climb 14ers and the physical strength to haul 100lbs of gear around all day (though my knees can't take it more than a few dozen steps).
|Oct5-10, 03:21 PM||#3|
Just to add, when learning "physical" things, proper technique is probably the hardest part. The mark of the master, is that they make it look easy, only because they have mastered the proper technique.
Consider weight lifting. When you start with free weights, you spend a long time with light weights just learning to lift with the proper technique and form. This is the "brain power" part and the part you retain even when you stop.
If you take years off and get back in the gym, you don't need the extended period of learning proper technique. That certainly makes it much quicker to "relearn" your body back to that physical place you want to be.
The bike/roller skating example was a good one. When you learn to ride a bike, the longest part is the technique-That is what stays with you over the years. Sure, if you don't do it for years you will need a period of readjustment, but that will come rather quickly once you've learned to do it right.
|Oct5-10, 03:36 PM||#4|
Getting Back In shape.
I agree with what you've said. However I was wondering by which mechanism is the body remembering it's previous physical condition or changed for the long term (decades.)
For example: unseen changes to (not visible factors) the circulatory system, or hormonal system, or is there scafolding from bone to muscle which remains or longterm or near permanent improvements to the entire system of muscle growth, cardio-vascular, or cartilage,tendons etc? Things of that nature.
I am wondering when a person falls out of shape what specific changes remain within them that are not outwardly visible (or mental) that help them regain their previous fitness level faster than a person trying for the first time.
I'm interested in this because nearing 40 years old I am in the best shape I have ever been in so I hope some of it sticks if I fall out again. I am in completely new territory fitness is my only hobby right now.
I do crossfit training for 45 minute sessions twice a week (a class with kettlebells, sit ups,pushups,squats burpees etc), twice a week I do a fighting class (which is boxing,kicking, sparring with a partner and pads for an hour straight solid.) Also 3-4 times a week I do freeweights: A back day, a core day +legs, and then chest day. All of my workouts include stretching and attempts to make gains on flexibility.
I also walk my dogs about 1-3miles a day.. they are large energetic unruly dogs with a combined weight exceeding my own so it isn't always a relaxing stroll with them. I think I get a good combo of different types of exercise you mention in the wiki link.
I always hear about people being able to regain their previous fitness level faster than when they first got it and my curiousity is peaked about what exactly that is and how it works. How much is mental? What is being reinforced that is not outwardly visible that remains? etc. Is there inward "scaffolding" for muscular development that we can not see that remains even when outward muscles seem to decrease from disuse which takes longer to fade?
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