Resiliency Series: Strive for fitness not sickness and you’ll stay healthier for a lifetime.

Yes, that pic is me… Caught your eye, right?

Here we go again with another rendition of our resiliency series! If you have been following along, thank you! We have been enjoying the feedback from our wonderful followers on our presented topics.

If this is your first time reading, thanks for joining!

This series is a set of topics that are supposed to help YOU build up resilience to the many aches, pains, and physical issues people face. I dove into things like shoulder pain, low back pain, foot pain but now we take a slightly different approach.

I want to introduce you to the SICKNESS, WELLNESS, FITNESS continuum.

I will reference CrossFit HQ (headquarters) for this concept. As many of you know, I hold Crossfit near and dear to my heart despite many accusations that it is a leading cause of injury and overtraining in the general population. That being said, they have done a great deal of work over the past few years to direct the goal of their brand to target the health of the general population. One concept that they are shining light on is this SICKNESS, WELLNESS, FITNESS continuum.

Photo Credit: Crossfit Journal, August 2016

In brief, they suggest to set a goal to strive for the “fitness” level of this continuum. At the fitness level we are much more resistant to things like injury and disease.

We can be categorized as sick for a variety of reasons such as physical injuries or health conditions. For the purposes of today, we are going to refer to being “sick” as suffering from a physical injury, “well” as being back to baseline, and “fit” as being more resistant to injury and disease.

Example 1

  • Two people get into a car accident and suffer the exact same injures. In this example, let’s say they are both of the same age, gender and do not possess any underlying health conditions.
  • Person one exercises at a high level and can squat and deadlift more than their bodyweight. They train 4-5 days per week.
  • Person two exercises at an average level of fitness and primarily exercises with light weights. They train 3-4 days per week.
  • Who do you think will have a shorter recovery?
  • BOTH of these people were likely on the “fitness” side of the continuum pre-accident, but the one with more strength is likely more fit thus more likely to have a shorter recovery time. They both slid onto the sickness side but the more fit person did not slide as far, as their baseline was higher. Hence they have less distance to travel to get back to where they were.

Example 2

  • Person comes to PT with shoulder pain. They have been suffering from it for a while and can be considered on the sickness side of the continuum.
  • They are rehabbed, their pain goes away and their PT got them to baseline. They can do everything they are doing before they got hurt.
  • Where do they stand? I would consider them being in the wellness category at this point. They could easily slip back down to sickness if they put their shoulder under the conditions it faced just before they got hurt before. Unless, they prepare it to handle more…
  • Why are we stopping at wellness or the low end of fitness?

These examples explain the idea that we MUST slowly and gradually put our bodies under exercise stress in order to see the changes we need. There is a TON of research out there that backs the idea that the more fit someone is, the less likely they are to get sick or injured. This “fit” idea is in both areas of cardio and weight lifting.

The better your cardiovascular fitness you have, the less likely you are to develop chronic disease.

The stronger your muscles, tendons, and ligaments are, the less likely you are to develop injuries to them.

They key is to train you body at a level that actually creates a change. Slowly push the boundaries of challenge with weight lifting and your cardio of choice and you WILL see the benefits long term.

If you have never lifted heavy weights, I HIGHLY suggest consulting a health and fitness pro to provide you with the proper programming to keep you safe.

Let’s strive for getting as fit as possible and your body will thank you.

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