The changing dynamics of health and fitness

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The goal of fitness has been evolving since early man. From survival needs in the forest to entertainment in the Roman coliseums or modern wrestling, fitness has now evolved into a symbol of glamour and attraction.

Do you go to the gym by looking at your friend’s body? Do you blindly follow the GYM trend? Are you still eating supplements just to increase your protein intake but your diet is all upside down?

The die hard need to always look good throughout the year is an obnoxious demand for improving one’s self image and confidence. Since the early 1900s it was observed that men with huge bellies were supposed to be rich and respected. It was an opposite movement in the mid-1950s where men started breaking these norms by opting for a slim physique.

Later in 1980s bodybuilding pushed the boundaries to unrealistic levels. Today, the fitness we know has made a prime goal to look lean and muscular. Looking lean and masculine is not an impossible goal but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. To get social attention people follow stuff blindly and end up being demotivated and injured.

Especially with rise of nudity and unnecessary exposure of extremely sculpted bodies in movies, YouTube videos, etc, people start believing that having six pack abs is an ideal body for both genders. Objectifying bodies has plagued our minds thanks to the so called modern culture. We have forgotten what is ethically right and wrong.

I usually see many guys building their upper bodies, especially chest, biceps, triceps. Girls spending hours on the treadmill and squats. They forget they are there in the gym to achieve fitness which requires a full body workout not just some parts to attract the opposite sex. The goal of fitness isn’t just lifting weights and endless cardiovascular exercises. It is to achieve a total control of our bodies with proper synchronization of mental and spiritual health.

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Being able to live a 100% one needs to build his/her physical, psychological and social self. It’s not that building huge muscles would give you the satisfaction throughout your life. Building a healthy mental and physical connection would payback through one’s life.

Don’t fall for the ideal bodies of the movie stars, models, etc., as they are paid to look that way and can afford to maintain it. Most of these bodybuilders, aesthetic models and movie stars (not all) are on endless steroid cycles. They are especially those who transform within months or year for a movie/ show. The side effects of such steroids are highly dangerous and can prove to be fatal even with proper guidance.

Also many leading female stars starve themselves or follow extreme diets or plastic surgeries just to look extremely slim or attractive. It isn’t possible throughout the year and causes various imbalances within the body.  But still these actors get away showing chiseled bodies. Post the shot/ performance they visit their doctors for medications and post steroid cycle therapy which is again very expensive.

There are so many ways one can achieve fitness and health. Exploring various forms of exercises such as: –

  • Yoga
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Outdoor sports like basketball, football etc.
  • Dance
  • Martial Arts
  • And many more

We shouldn’t look at the above exercises as individual regime. Instead, fitness lies in variation. A blend of strength training with yoga and swimming can provide you with flexibility, focus and a proper cardiovascular routine which help burn fat faster and reduce injuries.

Also the most important part is to not be dependent on supplementation for long term benefits. Instead, a proper meal which is high in protein with moderate to low carbohydrates (depending upon your goals) and good quality of fats will be more than sufficient for a healthy long life.

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Inclusion of all kinds of fruits and vegetables provide you with ample amount of fiber, vitamins and other micro nutrients essential for muscle repair and organ function. Rest and sleep also go hand in hand with exercise and diet.

Until or unless you are not pursuing any fitness or bodybuilding competition, going “only” to gym for the sake of fitness would prove to be very boring and unsatisfactory. It’s better not to blindly follow the trend instead be your own judge and follow the physical activities which interest you and mix strength training either with body weight or inside the gym to be truly fit and contended.

– Hargobind Singh Shan

Edited by Mrinaal Datt

Read more about them here.

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