“Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.” – Hippocrates
The constant and untiring pursuit for a better quality of life is one of the core driving factors of all human endeavors. With the kind of technological development that the world has seen in the last one century or so has made life easier, longer and better. However, there is an extreme flip-side to the whole case of life becoming easier because of technological advancements. Human bodies inherently have a very high capacity to expend a lot of energy for many hours by doing sustained physical activity. It is no news that physical activity has gone to extremely low levels in urban lifestyle, and as a result of which the so called “lifestyle disorders” have become so common a condition.
Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, chronic renal failure, osteoporosis, stroke, depression, obesity, arthritis, atherosclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and list can go on. It’s no longer amusing that these diseases are also called the diseases of civilization. A combination of sedentary lifestyle and a disastrous dietary culture has brought about this modern day calamity.
The only way to fight and beat this calamity is by understanding the sciences of being physically fit and applying these principles consistently day in and day out. In other words, living a ‘fitness lifestyle’ is the answer to the diseases of civilization and to lead a truly improved quality of life.
If there is a problem, there lies an opportunity in finding its solution. The smart entrepreneurs have always understood this phenomenon at its best. And the fitness industry has been no exception. Growing unfit population all over the developed world has seen a huge surge in businesses dealing with physical wellness. But unfortunately, this exponential growth has proved to be a double edged sword. As much as it has helped bring the best of fitness solutions to the masses, it has also acted as a catalyst to the unimaginable quantum of myths that plagues this very industry. No other industry is as consumed by myths and misinformation as the fitness industry. And thus, it becomes very difficult for the layman to decide and choose between the right and wrong, effective and ineffective, optimal and flawed.
So what does one do in such a scenario? Well, the answer is actually quite simple and fundamental. Exercise physiology or exercise science is the study of the acute responses and chronic adaptations to a wide range of physical exercises. Exercise physiologists also study the effect of exercise on pathology, and the mechanisms by which exercise can reduce or reverse disease progression. Understanding the science behind physical wellness makes everything black and white. Understanding the human body and its workings, and application of the knowledge is the correct approach towards a fitness lifestyle.
How to go about choosing a right fitness regime?
The fitness industry is still at very nascent stage in India. There’s still limited awareness and demand for quality fitness professionals who are certified, knowledgeable and most importantly updated. A lot of fitness professionals do not update themselves with the latest developments in the field. Fitness is a fast evolving field of study, and thus keeping abreast with new studies and findings is of utmost importance for fitness professionals.
Understanding the difference between trends and scientific developments is of utmost important. For example, a new form of exercise claiming great results without any scientific reasoning and validation is just a trend. When dealing with the human body, following trends blindly isn’t a very clever thing to do. Every minute being invested on the gym floor and the activities being performed should have an optimal return on the investment, in the form of results – improved performance in day to day life, prevention of lifestyle diseases, slowing down the aging process and aesthetic gains as a result of improved body composition. Anything that’s not even close to that is a waste of time, energy and effort.
And lastly, but most importantly, ask questions. Whenever a fitness professional prescribes a particular workout regime, or the dietician plans a diet, asking why and how is it going to help you is your right. And also it is your duty to yourself to ask questions and be aware of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. In most cases, the professionals who hesitate to answer your queries are either themselves not fully aware of what they are prescribing, or even worse, they might be pseudo-experts who are actually experts of dodging logical queries. Either ways, it is a grave loss of your valuable time and money.
Find and choose your fitness coach carefully – one who understands the sciences of physical fitness, and practices it himself/herself. The importance of understanding and applying scientific principles of fitness is one and only sure-shot way to an improved quality of life.