“What About Me?” is my summertime inner-self mantra! But rather than speak for anyone else (although surely many empathize), I will reflect on my own experiences. Summer is coming to a close – that’s a Season, not a three-month vacation. I realize now, the grass always appears greener, irrespective of the Season. Schools get out, life appears easier, but before I know it, I am salivating as the count-down to Fall matriculation starts with visions of the heavens parting as the school doors open.
As a mom, the summer season whips off my oxygen mask. My life is nearly unmanageable when schools are in session, with every day feeling like a marathon. That being my status quo, add Summer and the dysfunction unfolds exponentially. Yikes! The real question is how I prioritize myself, and namely my health and fitness, when I am also responsible for the wellbeing of many others, who have the free time I don’t? How do I defend my time, which is so scarce, and everybody wants it? My answer is STRATEGY. My strategy is the same as always – to get my own oxygen mask on, again, and this time firmer than ever.
As Summer has proved, if I am not taking care of myself, I am unable to be of optimal service to my family and community. Summer has taken its toll on my metabolic health, to say nothing of my sanity. As I never have time to waste on any inefficiencies (especially since so few are even within my control), I need serious bang for my buck. Essentially, I will no longer settle for a strategy that yields less than the highest return, for the lowest level of risk, with only the minimal investment of my own. If I were describing an investment portfolio, we’d all be grabbing your checkbooks. But I am talking about strength training!
Absent this fictional time to waste, my “exercise” must stimulate a positive physiological adaptation that serves to enhance my fitness, without undermining my health. The activity must be safe, efficient and produce measurable metabolic results. While running and aerobics are physical activities, I question the risk (wear, tear and injury) versus the reward (positive physiological adaptation). And, to be honest, even if I loved to run, I don’t have the darned time.
I armor up for life with muscular strength for optimal movement, energy and protection from injury. My skeletal muscles serve as the engine, chassis, and shock absorbers for my body. I assert, for me, that building muscle is the exercise for this modern working parent! And, it’s the best way to proactively combat the myriad problems associated with ageing, supercharge my metabolism and increase cardiovascular endurance.
Safe, efficient strength training is my oxygen mask. My metabolic health, functional ability and stamina ALL depend on my physical strength: the more muscular strength I have, the more I can do, and the better I will age (and the more fun I will have doing it).