Are marathon runners fit? Most people would reasonably answer yes. But when a fitness regime focuses intensively on one form of exercise the body may pay the price in other respects, so is it truly fit?
Along with aerobic activity, true fitness is achieved when flexibility, strength, balance and mindfulness training are incorporated into our workouts. In a recent article the Harvard Medical School suggest that activities involving aerobics, strength, stretching and balance are the four most important types of exercise to keep us mobile and feeling good.
In Australia at least, we are also becoming increasingly aware of the holistic benefits of engaging in strength, stretching and balancing exercises using mindful practices such as yoga, tai chi, martial arts and Pilates. These popular classes are fantastic ways to reduce stress and anxiety while improving our ability to quieten the mind and focus on the present.
Increased core strength, control, balance and suppleness are clear benefits to what used to be considered alternative forms of exercise, but are now becoming mainstream methods for improving mental wellbeing as well as physical health.
In Sydney you can find health clubs providing a wide range of classes, making it easy to achieve total mind body fitness in one inspiring venue. The convenience of not running all over the city to various gyms and swimming pools as well as separate yoga, martial arts and Pilates studios is what is drawing people into health clubs like Virgin Active, where hundreds of classes are held every week facilitating a range of exercise experiences. When you live a busy lifestyle in a bustling city like Sydney, this is the secret to success.
There are many arguments in favour of varying your exercise, staving off boredom not being the least. Deciding to take up one particular activity with the sole purpose of getting fit is sure to lead to failure as soon as the novelty wears off. At some stage the level of fitness achieved plateaus, which is when the enthusiasm and motivation generally wanes.
But when you tackle Boxing one day and Barre the next, and mix up Kinesis with Kettlebell and Pilates with Power Plate you never become bored or stale or ho-hum about exercise. Variety in your fitness means you work competing muscle groups in different ways, but you also feel the benefits of stretching them too. You strengthen your core at the same time as you strengthen your resolve to live a better life. You challenge yourself mentally and physically with a range of activities designed to provide differing benefits which collectively bring total mind body fitness. It’s a good feeling.
So run that marathon if you want to, for that takes mental resolve and focus too. But join a multi-faceted health club like Virgin Active so you can also enjoy a yin yoga class to stretch out those hard-working muscles. And while you’re there learn to kickbox, dance, meditate or swim – so you can endure many challenges and cross many finish lines in life with a totally fit mind and body.