Considering how fast certain aspects of life have progressed over the past few decades and how quickly things continue to advance, we can almost bank on the fact that life will continue to move faster—and even be more Pentium-processed. Today, people want things yesterday. They want to get rich quick and get fit fast.
Technology continues to make manual labor a thing of the past. To make matters worse, newspapers, television news programs, magazines, books, and the fitness industry have been inappropriately lowering the standards of exercise and telling people to “relax,” “go at an easy pace,” “stop if you feel discomfort,” and “exercise should be fun.” Now, they’re even telling us that activities such as grocery shopping, gardening, bird watching, playing with the kids, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator all qualify as exercise. These suggestions aren’t entirely bad, but many people assume they’ll automatically reap dramatic physical improvements and only have to exert themselves mildly in the process. Fun and enjoyable pastimes and recreation do carry some healthful physical benefits. However, these activities won’t and can’t stimulate the multitude of exclusive physical changes that only proper exercise can.
The results obtained through exercise are directly proportional to the intensity of effort put forth. The most important ingredient in any exercise program is demanding muscular work. Certainly, there are a number of other factors that contribute to the quality of an exercise program and its ability to stimulate results. However, without demanding muscular work, nothing else matters. Low intensity, comfortable activity doesn’t challenge the body beyond its already existing abilities.
There’s a big difference between what people think they can do, what they may be willing to do, and what the body is truly capable of doing. The true story is told by one’s physiological responses. Some of the main physical manifestations resulting from proper exercise are labored breathing, increased heart rate, raised blood pressure, increased metabolic rate, muscle ache from fatigue, a burning sensation in the lungs, increased body temperature, and sweating. These physiological effects of a demanding bout of exercise don’t instantly vanish the second the workout ends. It requires several minutes—sometimes longer—for the heart rate and breathing rate to return to normal, for the muscles to regain the strength depleted during exercise, and in general for the subject to regain his or her wits. These physiological responses are a completely natural and unavoidable byproduct of proper exercise.
If we expect anything in the way of meaningful results from exercise, we must exercise in a way that challenges our bodies beyond our already existing capabilities. Simply stated: some good, old-fashioned hard work is required. Executed properly, exercise can be unpleasant to perform. Therefore, stay motivated and disciplined, and always put forth your best effort despite the uncomfortable feeling present. Your body will reward you for it. IBI