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Sunday, September 25, 2022

There is no ‘best’ way to get healthy

Confessions of a Fitness Trainer

“The listeners want to know, what’s the best way to get healthy?”

I was in-studio doing an interview about health and fitness with the morning show host at a local radio station. I had answered that question countless times and the answer was always slightly different depending on the audience. In this particular instance, I decided to keep the answer as simple as possible. 

“Go outside for a daily walk and get adequate sleep.” Before I could even elaborate on why I felt that these pillars were of the utmost importance, he cut me off in a perturbed tone.

“That’s it?! Surely it can’t be that simple… you’ve got to give us more than that!”

Upon further reflection, it turns out, we were both right. 

Yes, it is that simple in that most people would benefit greatly from a daily outdoor jaunt coupled with a good night’s rest. Sometimes these simple habits get ignored in favour of flashy  exercises or the latest diet craze.  

However, of course there is more to the equation. Health is a complex combination of factors making it impossible to proclaim that there is one best way to get or stay healthy.

As a personal trainer, I have to consider each person’s individual situation. 

Clients have come to me with a plethora of goals such as; get off cholesterol or blood pressure medication, not get winded when chasing around the grandchildren, complete a half marathon, reduce pain, get back on the ice, hit the golf ball 10 yards further, get stronger for life, be around for my kids as they grow up, etc. etc. etc…

Therefore what gets recommended to improve their health is also very individualized because these recommendations not only have to consider their aforementioned goals but also their schedules, preferences, current fitness levels, injury history, access to facilities and equipment, budget, and more.

If I had the opportunity to elaborate in that radio interview, I would have suggested that the listeners focus on the following objectives:

  1. Cardio-vascular health – walk, run, swim, cycle, whatever gets your heart rate up for a sustained period.
  2. Strength – using free weights, body weight, tubing, cables or virtually any tool that creates resistance to help make you stronger.
  3. Flexibility – stay active, stretch, or do yoga to move without feeling like the Tin Man.
  4. Recovery – sleep, mediation, gentle yoga, tai chi, or any other activity that helps you to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body.

There is no one size fits all model of how to combine these elements. At the end of the day you have to figure out what works for you.

Tips of the day

*There is no one size fits all model for health.

*If you’re looking for guidance, hire a fitness professional who will work around your goals and preferences to help make you an individualized plan.

*Choose activities that you actually enjoy doing – you’re more likely to stick with them!

Kathryn McKenzie – B.H.Kin, B.Ed

Certified Kinesiologist, Sport Conditioning Specialist & Personal Trainer

Author, Pizza Lover & Owner of Surefire Fitness

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