The 365 Commitment

The best indicator of health

The best indicator of an improvement in our health is not what we think. We look in the mirror and think that a reduction of wrinkles, or flab would be it. Nope. We look at the scale, screen, or other measurement and we think that would be it. Nope. We look at our wardrobe and think the dropping waist size or dress size would be it. Nope. We might even think that running 3 miles instead of 1, or 30 minutes instead if 15 but even that is not it. Sorry not even the fact that we can 100 instead of 50 or push or pull something with more repetitions. The best indicator of health improvement is how fast that you can recover from a strenuous effort. First concept, you must realize that recovery is an equally important part of any fitness program and must be built in. You perform the exercise, you then recover. Sorry, recovery is not the high sugar milk shake on the way home from the gym. Recovery is rest away from the exercise. Here is something we can all relate to. We go back to the gym for the first time in awhile. The next day, we are sure everywhere. You can barely walk. You take a few days to recover the muscles, then if you decide to go back to will find that that you still need recovery time, but maybe not as much. In this case your health is improving. If you require hardly any recovery time from an exercise, it is time to increase the intensity. That does not half to be all at once. Tear down from exercise is cumulative. If you increase the overall intensity over the course of a week, you will note that you get more tired and more worn down. This is a good sign, a sign that you need recovery. You should consider that, and evaluate how long it takes to fully recover. This is a key indicator of your health improvement. In a world of fitness, we spend a lot time evaluating the amount, the repetition, the level of effort but we spend very little time on the time to recover. This is not as exciting. If I can do 10 more reps then I feel like I accomplished something. If I can spend less time recovering tonget back to the effort, then it is not something to celebrate. However, we should. The people that know this the best are people that get to advanced age where muscles have completely started to weaken. They know recovery time better than anyone. A trip to the store could wipe them out for an afternoon. They always like to say the wish they were 20 years younger when they took it for granted that a walk to the mailbox was a skip and a jump. Recovery time is the first thing you notice when it becomes a problem and the last thing you want to consider as part of your exercise program. If you get better at any particular activity, this will change. Your mind and body will become acutely aware of recovery, and in almost an uncanny way, your body will try to enforce proper recovery even when you do not want to. Instead fighting it, incorporate recovery into your program and measure it. Length of recovery time is sufficient. Experiment with longer and shorter recovery times and you will see a direct in impact on your performance. Guy Reams
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