Exercise facts and fantasy

Has someone told you that what you are doing related to exercise, dieting, or proper nutrition is wrong?

It's the usual comment: "I heard, read, or saw somewhere that you shouldn't be doing that." If you write for a newspaper, as I do, you hear it a lot. The fact is, facts are changeable. They can't possibly relate to everyone, and some facts are simply not true.

There are fitness experts who firmly believe in their teachings, and they have good reasons for their beliefs. If it doesn't agree with the teachings of a different trainer, it can be confusing, especially for a new fitness student.

What is a contradicted exercise move for a general floor exercise session can be the most important part of a pre-game football workout, or just the thing for training in the armed forces. It makes you wonder who is making the fitness rules.

Right is what is right for you. Right is what is right for job performance and what is safe. Right levels of exertion are another factor.

Impact levels are one of the most often discussed subjects. How many pounds per square inch, how much foot stress, and how high? Should arms be used, and what pulse level is safe? What is right? It depends on your body's ability.

Sometimes, slow, gentle movements work for warm-ups. and sometimes, a gentle jog warms up cold muscles faster. Even I get confused when the trend slides toward an opposite position, or when I attend a conference and there are several opposing views within the offered classes. Pulse readings are different in every class I study; some start with zero and some start with one. Some activities take pulses for six seconds, some for 10 seconds, and some for 30 seconds.

Most fitness and sports students begin with predetermined ideas about techniques, abilities and expectations and question any difference. It's a good thing. We are becoming better educated regarding the use of our bodies. But, because you cannot accept a fitness or sports move does not make it wrong. It may be wrong for your body type, age, etc. Because you are not comfortable with a type of sport does not make it wrong.

What you learn relating to fitness should serve to broaden your knowledge; it is not stated specifically with your body in mind. Keep asking questions and evaluate the knowledge logically, without using that knowledge as an excuse to avoid exercise in general.

• Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.


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