Is exercise really good for you?

Is exercise really good for you?
 
Let’s enter into the crazy world of health and fitness.
 
 
 
I’m going to the gym – I know shock horror as I’m not really a gym bunny you see. I don’t really like the environment when it comes down to it but I need to get some rowing done and this is the easiest place to go and do it.
 
 
 
As a young adult, after school finished, I continued to exercise but I preferred to be in classes as I am very much a group activity person, probably why I went in to teaching exercise to music for groups. The music and motivation of others really works for me which is why I’ve not often used the gym.
 
 
 
Not that this is a problem as it doesn’t matter where you exercise as long as you are doing it – right?
 
 
 
As we all know, we are facing an obesity crisis and strongly recommended to exercise daily but does any form of exercise count as beneficial? Or is some exercising actually going to have a negative impact on our health?
 
 
 
Let me paint a picture……..
 
 
 
It’s early one drizzly, damp morning, and the gym car park looks quiet. Great I say to myself, no-one around, I can get on with my workout. I find my rowing machine and settle in for the duration as I have two types of workouts to complete so I will be there for a while.
 
 
 
The TVs are on in front of me with the words flashing up so you can understand what is being said if you choose to watch and there is music playing in the background so a few distractions available to me already to take my mind off the workout – but again question to you – is this a good thing?
 
 
I begin my first workout which is intervals of four minutes work and one minute recovery and try to settle into my rowing rhythm. To the right of me other gym participants are arriving and some are also going to use the other rowing machines.
 
 
 
This is all fine, I don’t mind other people working out near me but what I find a little more difficult is when they never actually stop talking. Whilst they are talking, they are moving to a certain degree, or exercising as it would be described, and I understand that maybe they have been recommended not to over exert and be able to hold a conversation, however I’m not sure this is to be taken as literally as some of the gym attendees are doing, to the point that the conversation never ends for the duration of the exercise.
 
 
 
I then notice out of the corner of my eye that I am being distracted by strange movement next to me on the other rowers. Honestly I have never seen such poor and odd rowing in my life. I wonder have they ever seen anyone row at all because you would definitely sink with this action!
 
 
 
How does this happen then?
 
 
 
I know for fact that gyms do inductions, or maybe this has changed. Where you should get shown how to use all the equipment but maybe that’s not the case anymore and it is just the equipment that requires your key so no-one really shows you how to row?
 
 
 
Rowing is not for everyone I appreciate that, but if you are going to do it, you really, really need to do it correctly to preserve your back and assist your posture. Weird looking yanking of the handle back and forth whilst the legs are completely out of sync with your upper body just looks bizarre and serves no purpose but getting you closer towards injury.
 
 
 
I also observed someone rowing without the screen actually working so you have no idea at all what you are achieving or doing. Again not sure what this achieves.
 
 
 
As my eyes glanced further around the gym looking for a better distraction that doesn’t wind me up, I start to look at all the various exercising being done. Now I’m not the know it all of exercise but there are some general basics that need to be followed and as I gazed further around me, I struggled to see good movement at all on the gym floor. It was a frightening and surreal experience that so little technique was applied to movements and no gym staff came to advise. I know people don’t want a PT in their face but I do think if someone is moving really badly, there should be a gentle suggestion of it might be better if you do it like this….
 
 
 
There was also an interesting take on intensity from those working out as already mentioned. I appreciate some people will not be expected to raise their heart rate dramatically and I’m all for people getting out there and moving but you do need to raise your heart rate a little bit and although you want to be able to talk, a full blown conversation wasn’t really what was intended by this statement and this doesn’t mean I’m trying to make everyone anti-social as I realise that for some people this is their means of contact with other people, but ultimately get something out of your workout and have a chat in the café afterwards then you have best of both worlds.
 
 
 
I also don’t see the point of spending too long on any piece of equipment, unless training for a purpose, because even if not working out hard, your posture will start to slump and then you are not going to be using the right muscles for your workout. In fact, you are more than likely going to add to aches and pains in other areas.
 
 
 
Exercise is good for you but the right kind of exercise. Exercise that is appropriate for your age and your health if taking medication or your injuries, etc. Just doing it for the sake of doing it isn’t really moving you forward and helping you get away from visits to our wonderful health care system in the long run.
 
 
 
All that you do to be healthy should have a purpose. There should be a goal, large or small, and for me a goal that is not geared to weight loss but to improved movement because the long and short of it is if you move and move well, you will change shape, which actually might mean that you don’t need to focus on how much you weigh but how well you look.
 
 
Next week, I will be talking about what kind of exercise is appropriate through the decades 40/50/60 plus.
 
 
 
Feel free to give your feedback, always welcomed.