Commentary by Korey Kuykendall
Schriever Fitness Center recreation assistant
What would you do if you only had 100 days to live? Most answers would probably be along the lines of emptying your bank accounts, partying and having a good ole time. Some people would probably try to make amends for past wrongs, etc. You see where I am going with this. Nobody thinks of fitness. Maybe we should.
The body you are currently living in is, in theory, brand new every 100 days, save for a few vital cells in the nervous system. What are you going to do with it? Will you make it better or stay the same?
Dr. Henry S. Lodge, author of “Younger Next Year,” says every day you replace about one percent of your cells. So every 100 days your body does a complete turnover. We are six months into 2009, resulting in two brand new bodies. What have you done with them?
Fitness transforms your body, cell by cell. The demands that exercise places on the body force the cells to adapt, in a good way. Every time you exercise you stress your muscles, which rely on cellular adaption to get stronger. Whether it is lifting weights or running, your body will adapt.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I feel better after I run?” What about someone who goes to the gym to lift weights because they are stressed to get relief? That feeling can be directly attributed to endorphins. Endorphins are a group of chemicals released by the body during exercise that can leave a person with a sense of well-being, a “natural high” if you will. It is an acute or sudden response to exercise. Some chronic or long-term adaptations to an individual’s exercise regimen, such as muscle hypertrophy (an increase in muscle size) or even weight loss, can take weeks to show results.
Fitness shouldn’t be “I have a PT test next month; I need to go to the gym.” It should be a lifelong routine. Set a goal to get you started. Whether your goal is to lose weight or play sports, make it something, anything to hold you accountable. We, at the Fitness Center, see it every day, you decide to get ‘in shape’ for your PT test. You struggle to barely pass your test and then proudly proclaim, “I am good for a year.” Good for what, to sit on the couch again? Really, do you think you are good because you can do some push-ups, sit-ups and go for a little jog? What would happen if you were to be deployed on a last-minute’s notice? Don’t you think your fellow comrades would want someone who is a bit more capable? Would you want someone who is a bit more capable?
For starters, once per week squadron mandated PT isn’t enough, especially when you just play a pickup game of dodge ball, basketball or any of the other sports you like to play here. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30-40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week accompanied by weightlifting two days a week. Cardiovascular exercise is aerobic exercise that requires the heart and lungs to work harder to supply the body with oxygen. The optimal range for this to happen is easily figured out by using the Karvonen Formula. The formula is:
220-AGE= -resting heart rate= *.65= +resting heart rate= low end of target range
220-AGE= -resting heart rate= *.80= +resting heart rate= high end of target range
Simply put, keep your heart rate between these two numbers when you run, bike, swim, etc and you will start to see some changes in your body.
Some squadrons do a good job utilizing the fitness center when they are here. But it still isn’t enough, most days of the week means four or five, not one. That leaves you with a decision to make. We are all leaders; set a good example for both your superiors and your subordinates and get to the fitness center those other days. You owe it to yourself and the people you work with. After all, you only have 100 days to live; what are you going to do with them?