They say that our body language tells the real story. The way that we twitch, flinch, blink, or shuffle, are all revelations of what is going on in our heads. The body language I want to talk about today has nothing to do with mannerisms, the way we squirm or wiggle, or any contortions of the face. The body language I am speaking of is the message that our bodies give to others about our health and fitness habits.
Lately, I feel like my body is speaking a foreign language! I caught a glimpse of a woman’s reflection in the store window the other day. It startled me a little, because she resembled me. Unfortunately, she was me! Moan, groan, URGH!!! As I paused to look at the image in the window, I noticed that my former school girl figure had turned into a stool girl figure, one that sits too much. Combine medication, lack of sleep, too much eating out, and not enough exercise and you have a prescription for body disaster.
Being the eternal optimist that I am, I only briefly beat myself up before I vowed to reverse the process and get my body back. I will shed the extra pounds. I will schedule workouts on my calendar for the days that I don’t teach aerobic classes, and I will get to bed earlier as many nights as I can. I am determined to fight this aging thing with all my might and strength. I WILL be a role model for fitness!
What is your body language saying about you? Are you where you want and need to be physically? Maybe weight isn’t an issue for you, but there could be other areas to improve. For instance, are you sitting at a computer all day? Chances are that you have tight chest muscles and overstretched upper back muscles, due to slumping all day. This can create a pull on your neck and back and make them hurt. Sitting contributes to tight hip flexors and tight hamstrings. Walking around every 30 minutes or so and stretching can give these muscles a break.
Paying attention to your posture while sitting can make a huge difference. Holding in the muscles of the abdomen and sitting tall can take pressure off the spine and improve your abdominal, or core, strength. Holding your shoulders back, even with your ears, and tucking in at least one of your chins (sorry) will open the muscles of the chest.
One of the danger signs and risks for men for having a heart attack is something called the waist-to-hip ratio. If your waist is several inches bigger than your hips, you are at risk. A good cardio program is always in order, but particularly for you. If you do have a large stomach then your abs are weak, which can exert an anterior pull on the pelvis and create back pain. Add to this sitting a lot and you have tight hamstrings, which can also cause low back pain along with shuffling when you walk. A side note (pardon the pun) is that when you eat, if you experience pain in your side, and there are no other medical reasons, most likely your stomach is expanding further, until your food digests, and the stomach can press against other organs to cause pain. It is best to do all that you can to get rid of the excess fat in the waist. Make it a personal goal to be able to see your belt buckle by looking down at it instead of in the mirror.
Ladies, how about those hips? Since we can’t spot reduce, we best be movers and shakers of the whole body. I’ve never changed a thing about my body by griping or bemoaning it. It has always required work and a plan. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as being too thin
Over exercising and under eating can cause all kinds of health problems, including but not limited to amenorrhea, hormone imbalance, and organ failure. Taking steroids or other performance enhancing products may bring about desired physical appearance results, but will they endanger your health in the long run? Is it really worth it for a quick fix?
It is never too late to get into shape or to improve your good health habits. But, you do have to have a plan and you do have to stick with it. I hope that my few helpful tips will get you on your way to achieving your personal fitness goals.
Review what your body is saying to others about your health and fitness habits. Is it speaking a foreign language? Even though it probably doesn’t need an interpreter to get the message across, I can guarantee you that it is speaking loud and clear. I’m going to lead this race by putting the “de” before my “termination”!
I’ll see you at the finish line