It just makes sense to pursue having an optimum level of health and fitness. It increases the quality of your own life, and also increases your usefulness to others.
In my last blog post I talked about functional fitness, or in other words the ability to perform basic functions that preserve your life and dignity. Useful fitness isn’t focused on you, it’s focused on your ability to help others.
Depending on the situation different aspects of fitness may be more or less useful. Strength comes in handy when helping a friend load their moving truck. Flexibility comes in handy when crawling into a small space where a young child has gotten stuck. Endurance comes in handy when you need to run to grab someone’s asthma inhaler during an emergency.
Useful fitness has nothing to do with your inherent value as a human being. There will never be a question as to whether or not you are valuable. But there is a very real question as to whether you are useful.
Do you have the ability to provide reasonable care for others, or do you need to be cared for? Can you keep up with a toddler and keep them from running into the road or do you have to call for help for someone else to catch them? If a dog is frightening them, can you lift them up in your arms or do you have to wait for the owner of the dog to do something?
When an emergency happens are you going to be an asset or a liability? Will you be one of the people offering help and improving the situation, or will you be one of the people who will be managed as part of the emergency? Could you provide a walking assist to someone who can’t move fast enough to exit a burning building? Could you kneel down to provide CPR for someone in cardiac arrest?
Strength, flexibility or endurance may not each be an asset depending on the situation, but weakness, stiffness, and lethargy are never useful.
One additional note that is very important for anyone who has significant physical restrictions (ex. cerebral palsy) or for individuals who shun physical activity because they see themselves as an intellectual. I can strongly encourage you to do some research into the connection between the brain and exercise. Physical fitness improves mental fitness. Your quick and clear thinking is also a useful contribution!
If you want help improving your useful fitness, I’m here for you. When you do the online intake assessment you can even identify if there is a specific kind of usefulness you would like to develop such as the ability to lift your child, bend down to play with them on the floor, or toss a football with your teen. Maybe you have a loved one who you know could not exit a building in an emergency and you want the ability to be able to lift and carry or drag them to safety. Maybe you’ve been feeling foggy and had difficulty concentrating and want to feel more sharp, clear and present. We can make that happen! To learn more about fitness coaching and program options click here.
You can help others to live long and live strong. Be fit to be useful.