What does it mean to be fit?
Functionally Fit is what I am talking about, not culturally fit. We’ll get to this difference momentarily, but the definition for the day. To be able to accomplish all tasks that you could be called upon for, for the benefit of your quality of life, longevity, and enjoyment.
I made this definition up in the moment, and it took no more than a few seconds to come up with it. Why is that pertinent? Because it is important to understand that fitness is a living definition, as well as a living pursuit. It is not static, it is dynamic. As my life circumstances change, so does the need, thus I could go from fit to unfit in a minute. Let me explain.
As a 30 year old hockey player, chiropractor and childless husband, my needs were to be able to move throughout my day with ease, adjusting patients without difficulty or pain. This is functional fitness, fitness that serves a purpose, and it benefits the quality of my life. My need for low cardiovascular risk, low bone weakness risk, and low cancer risk are ever present, and fitness levels have an impact on that according to more and more research.
And of course, enjoyment. I was playing regularly in the Annual Adult National Chapionship Hockey Tournament in Florida in the spring. I wanted to win, and I wanted to be a significantly positive impact on our teams chances to win. My fitness needed to be enough to sustain a very high level of play.
At 36, the moment the hockey puck hit my eye and blinded me, my fitness needs changed, and over time it became evident that they had increased dramatically. I went from being happy with my fitness if I could play high level hockey. Which is a 40 second to 1 minute shift of high intensity, followed by 2-3 minutes of rest before going on the ice again. In the weekly pickup game that I played, it was usually 5-8 minutes on the ice with a 2-4 minute rest.
A CrossFit event in CT for the benefit of the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School. 1,000 people of varying levels of fitness make it happen there.
It might sound like a significant requirement, but out of shape overweight guys with skills can carry on that kind of athletic effort, with a huge gap in potential fitness. I was already crossfitting when the injury came, but it became a bit more of my passion, as my ability to see a puck coming and identify where it was, had gotten really bad. Catching a football became nearly impossible for me, and all hand-eye coordination became difficult.
I took up adventure racing, and ended up spending hours on these mountain bike running, canoeing races through the woods. Suddenly, I found myself in two sports (CrossFit and Adventure Racing), that appeared to be complete dichotomies. One required great endurance, the other great strength and short intense bursts of energy. Both were important to me in my pursuit of fitness, but it would appear that the appropriate training for each would be totally different.
However, that is not true. First, before I cover that, I want to point out that my fitness needs for quality of life didn’t really change. My need to be productive in life was the same, though increasing in its need as we ramped up from 100 adjustments a week, to 300, to 500, to 800. The need to be fit has definitely increased over time. Though many would think that their needs for fitness decrease as they age… I believe that for most of us, they actually stay the same, only subtly changing over time.
Back to the differing needs for my enjoyment. I found out, that the crossover of short intense bouts of fitness are amazing. I chose to pursue CrossFit as my method, and that method was providing me with the ability to test my fitness in the form of adventure races. And we began to win these races.
At 40 years old, I have been using CrossFit for my method of fitness for 7 years. I am more fit than I was at 30, or at 20. I am stronger, and I have much greater endurance. I might not be quite as fast in a sprint, but I am not far behind.
Fitness – the ability to do whatever might be called on of yourself for the most basic needs. One of the greatest needs you will encounter as you age is balance. Figure out how to balance yourself until you are dead, and your life will be much better off. I have a friend who just flew off to Canada today to be with his 91 year old mother through pelvic surgery. We can only pray that she handles it well and recovers.
Be well, be fit, and try out CrossFit. We will be giving between 5 and 8 classes for free to our new CF Towne Lake, or The Garage in the upcoming Total Food Makeover. Its your time!
Be blessed – Dr. E