Basic Fitness Articles

The articles in this section pertain to my personal philosophy of fitness regarding nutrition, flexibility, muscle strength and aerobic power. My way to fitness is a narrow path that few may want to follow. Yet you may find some fitness principles here that are worthy of consideration.

In my early sixties, I still weigh the same as I did while running at my prime in college. Even when I’m not training to race I maintain a basic fitness regimen, as if I might soon return to serious training. In short, I always think of myself as an athlete. Yet I’m no longer always burning with ambition to prove how fast I can be in running.

I’m more interested in being fit enough for a long work-week. Work for me is sitting at the computer six hours a day, teaching and coaching athletes, cooking for myself, and doing house work. When it comes to being fit for fun, I like running the Kilauea Volcano Wilderness Marathon every July, and carrying a heavy backpack into Kalalau Valley on Kauai every August. I enjoy those activities as much as I enjoy my morning runs through a nearby valley.

My personal approach to fitness training ranges from what I call basic fitness activities to full-on heavy training. I am never completely sedentary, I never deviate from a moderate nutritional regimen, and I’m always concerned about maintaining basic strength and flexibility. Yet I’m not particularly flexible, nor am I big and strong. And although I have a modicum of running ability, there are many runners my age who are faster than I.

My goal is not to be the best athlete, but to be fit for life. Being fit for life is the ability to do a range of non-ordinary physical activities without becoming sick, injured or exhausted. Non-ordinary activities might include picking up a heavy box when I have to, climbing several flights of stairs because the elevator is broken, having to walk a mile because my motorcycle is out of gas, or dealing with the stress of a crisis on the job or in the family.

The non-ordinary could also include things that are fun to do but impossible for because I’m out of shape. Like play a game of tennis without ripping a muscle. Or take the kids on a bike ride. Lifetime fitness, moreover, has several components:

  • Stamina, built with walking, jogging, biking, and swimming;
  • muscle strength, built with resistance exercises such as weight lifting;
  • flexibility, maintained with stretching;
  • weight control, maintained with moderate, low-fat eating.

A regular fitness regimen would include at least three 30-minute stamina sessions per week, two short strength building session per week, at least one stretching session between each stamina session, and three low-fat meals and a light afternoon snack each day.

If you are considering getting on the path to fitness, congratulations. The articles in this section may teach you some effective principles. Anyone can use the basic principles, and some may want to apply the principles of adaptation to a more ambitious fitness regimen.