Common religious scriptures teach us that attachments are not necessary to live a fulfilling life. That the seeking of, and dependence on life’s attachments can inhibit our spiritual growth and divert us from fulfilling our most critical human potential. Through studying the text of any faith, we learn that true fulfillment is the sum product of one’s beliefs, merged with one’s actions in observing those beliefs, and fellowship sought and nurtured from those beliefs and actions.
As we live our lives though, in the swift and confluent currents of modernity and reality, it seems our desire for, and dependence on attachments such as cars, entertainment, homes, and relationships, actually increases from year to year – as does the strength and the force of those currents.
By the time many are laid to rest, they are likely to be found laying at the end of a long trail of broken promises, bad choices, misguided intentions, unfulfilled potential, and surrounded by all the attachments that lead them down this trail to begin with. Guilty, I might be.
As Americans, I believe our single biggest attachment, is the unnecessary concept of progress in all of these areas; more, bigger, faster, fancier, and so-on. That in all we build, buy, view, and in so many of the ways we act, we always seek to have more, and often end up with much more than we need.
Exercise As A Necessity; Progress In Exercise As An Attachment
Will progress in a fitness agenda end in two years or two months? That answer is relative to the goal, and to the level of effort applied. When progress will end, perhaps can best be answered only after one defines what fitness is, and what their fitness objective(s) might be. Click here to learn more.
The human body will only get so strong, be able to run so fast, and can only get so lean. Your arms and legs will only be able to carry, lift, or push so much weight. Your resting heart-rate will only get so low, and your flexibility will only provide for you so much range of motion – even if you exercise daily.
If you are measuring progress exclusively by how much weight you lift, how fast you walk or run, how low your blood pressure is, your cholesterol, etc., and you are the average 2-3 day per week fitness enthusiast, tangible progress will likely stop in a relatively short order.
Loss of body-fat is a little different. In the case of body-fat, you can keep losing slowly and steadily, so long as you exercise and eat consistent with that goal, right up until the body-fat is minimal, or gone. Then, and only then will progress stop – and so might your heart. Being that lean should be no one’s goal. Not being obese, and being healthy, should be every one’s goal – please seek to understand the difference. Staying healthy is why it is important to continue exercising, even once visible progress is gone.
With regard to physical strength, and the improved aesthetic caused by adding or shaping muscle mass: Once progress stops, the changes in one’s musculature that have taken place can only be reinforced and maintained, by continuing to exercise with consistency — though there is little need at this point to continue trying to increase poundages lifted. Still, people attempt to lift more and more weight in the gym — unnecessarily.
In a much different sense than the responses above, progress never really does end, so long as you always continue exercising.
Consider this; each day you become a little older.
Now, consider that days add up to weeks, and weeks to years, and so-on. Even if one peaks-out or levels off at a given weight in lifting, or at given pace on the walk or the run, the true progress is that each time you do it, even if one is just maintaining an existing weight, or an existing pace, one is performing that act one day older, one week older, one year older, and so-on.
To me, that continued maintenance, as longevity protracts, is the ultimate progress in pursuing one’s fitness ambitions. Summing longevity with continued ability should be on everyone’s fitness agenda – again, my belief.
I am at 47, as flexible as I was at 32. At 47 years of age, I have a similar stroke volume, as balanced LDL & HDL, and the same blood pressure, and resting heart-rate as I did at 35 years of age. So long as I continue with regular exercise, it is unlikely that these numbers will regress much, though age will cause them to regress some.
My bench press last week was 185 lbs. for 8 repetitions – exactly what it was nine years ago. I see that as progress. My 5k time is consistently 24 minutes – exactly what is was four years ago. Again, progress. That’s what this is all about for me; a routine and observant ritual to help maintain my health as well as my abilities. The weight may be the same, but relative to the age, that’s the real progress, and I seek no more than that.
Whether it’s you or me, it is likely that if we establish and observe our current exercise boundaries, and commit to sound eating choices, we will be in as good of shape 2 or 12 years from now, and that’s progress.
Perhaps the best way to define progress with regard to fitness, is by simply measuring how much distance we place between our very first workout and our very last. Now that’s a concept we can all be attached to. Be well. rc