at home in... w| Gerald Zhang-Schmidt

Look Closer, Learn More, #GetAtHome In This World

Tag: everyday fitness (Page 1 of 2)

Fit Life Advice 3: The Other “How?” of Winter Running – How Intense?

So, you have found your Why of winter running? Or avoided it successfully in favor of the practical How and found your right clothing-microclimate balance?

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Adult Playgrounds and the Skill of Fun

You get older and, even in these times of a supposed refusal (or failure) of people to grow up, you stop playing.

Computer games may still be somewhat okay; card or board games are accepted if you are in the fitting circles; some sports activities are seeing a lot of support… but simply running around, exploring your surroundings, climbing trees, balancing over poles is looked at askance. “You a child or something?!”

In fact, the “adult” world has been encroaching onto childhood to such an extent that not even children are supposed to be active like that anymore.

“Sit still!” is the newly-resurgent admonition all-too-often leveled at children; letting them even just walk to school by themselves has, in places, been taken as neglect. And then we wonder, in an environment full of sugary temptations and lacking in opportunities for physical activity, why obesity is an increasing problem.

Let’s get back to adults, though.

We are the models and the ones who should be growing up – and shouldn’t growing up entail some understanding of the needs of a body, as well as the opportunity to create the conditions good for us?

I think it should, and I think we would all do better if we remembered that and didn’t just grow older, but better.
Obesity is not just a problem of children, after all; and even normal-weight people are not necessarily any fitter than heavier ones – but what do we think of playgrounds?

It’s interesting to look at different places.

China, for example, has similar ideas as ‘the West’, of fitness being something for the younger people and a certain rotundity being a sign of success in older men.

However, China also has something of a traditional physical culture for people who are growing older, not least with tai ji quan.

Now, with a more affluent and aging population and the pressure this puts on the health care system, there are some similar issues as we see in ‘the West’, too – but there are also all those “adult playgrounds” that, whether they were already planned for older people or not, are being used by them a lot.

Beijing Public Playground

It’s one of the biggest challenges for health systems, and it is being discussed a lot in the context of that.
What about the other, much more personal, side to it, though?

By accepting the half-truth that you will decline as you age, you make yourself decline much more than you would otherwise, and it costs a lot in terms of your very own quality of life.

Remaining active, both physically and mentally, is one of the (if not the) main differences that make for a difference in how you will age, badly or well – and it’s good at all ages. Fact “is that the human body adapts positively to well-managed training stress … regardless of age. Age is not the limiting factor. The desire to perform at a high-level and make the necessary sacrifices to do so is.

It’s not necessarily sacrifice, though, when you manage what you do well – and fun.

This is one of the reasons why I recommend Christopher McDougall’s (new) “Natural Born Heroes.”

The story he tells is quite fascinating, but the pointers he gives to various practices and skills that one can gain and profit from, from parkour to foraging, are an even greater (and more necessary) concern for a future with some serious fun.

On the scale

Everyday Fitness: Forget Weight, Follow Function

The one and only sign of fitness generally fussed about is weight. Oh no, I weigh too much. I must lose weight.

It’s one of those “simplets” where we pick a number and obsess about it because it becomes our reality. Hell, it even sounds scientific; also take your height into account, and you need a formula (!) to calculate your BMI. It’s got to be good.

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Chinese Mise-en-Place

Everyday Fitness: The Perfect Diet

Diet, one’s way of eating, is a major factor of everyday enjoyment, everyday fitness, the everyday ecology of our living at home in this world – and oh-so-many of the problems we increasingly face, in terms of the world’s ecological functioning for us as well as our own health and well-being.

The more important clear paths would be, the more we’ve been making the topic into a veritable jungle.

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Chin Up

Everyday Fitness: Age You Will – But Badly or Well?

Strange times we are living in when so many people hardly have to work physically anymore that the fitness industry becomes a multi-billion enterprise – and at the same time, more and more people see their health and fitness decline. We live longer, but not better.

What really counts to each and every one of us aren’t, perhaps, the statistics and averages, however, but our personal observations and attitudes. And all too often, when it comes to fitness and aging, there seems to be one or the other of only two notions:

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Everyday Fitness: Move for Training, Train for Movement

When people do something for their fitness, it’s typically for a very distinct aim: losing weight, getting into (a certain) better shape, running a marathon, bench-pressing a certain weight.

As in the case of weight, goals can be helpful, and observations of progress (trends) even more so. However, a singular focus on single aspects does not make for great fitness and health.

Many are the runners who forget to develop their upper bodies and their strength, many the bodybuilders who look strong, but can hardly move anymore, let alone run – and many both the overweight and those of normal weight who are lacking in the skills for the extraordinary everyday.

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Everyday Fitness: If You Can’t Run, Then Walk

A year ends, a new year starts, gym memberships go up – but it’s not the solution, it’s perhaps a part of the “disease” that we think we need fitness centers for our health and fitness. And no, it doesn’t necessarily take running, either.

Walking during the Kirchdorf Über-Drüber-Marathon

Walking during the Kirchdorf Über-Drüber-Marathon

Of course, I sympathize with Scott Jurek, ultrarunner par excellence, when he suggests that “if you can walk, you can run.” As much as I’d like it to be true, though, I know that it isn’t even true for me, once I’ve gone a certain distance, and it’s even less true for many an other person.

As long as you can move, in some way, however, you can move – and to be in good health and get to better (or at least not worse) fitness, a body must move.

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Fentiman's Beverages

Everyday Fitness: Putting Pop in Its Proper Place

Soda pop – carbonated soft drinks – have become so common, so normal a part of life, as to be of little notice. They are, however, a rather recent invention – and one that is a highly relevant element in itself, and a great symbol, of the problems with modern diets. (As has, since the first draft of this story was written, become rather obvious thanks to all the raised voices caused by New York City’s ban of the “big gulp”…)

A History of Human Drinking

At the beginning, there was water. (Of course, it still is the one substance we need to drink.)

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Feeling Frail (and a Touch of Finding Ultra)

Off into the Alps again for the last of the mountain races I’m participating in this year (and possibly the last official event since it looks like the Wachau marathon will fall victim to chile pepper-related events yet again).

You’d think that someone who does marathons and longer distances would be fit and feeling strong.

Even as such practices make it necessary to push through pain, however, they also make for a greater awareness of one’s being a body. And so, weaknesses become more noticeable: the cold caught after the mountain marathon around the Traunsee lake (nobody said such events themselves were good for fitness), the dearth of core and strength training in favor of endurance running, the recurring neck pain…

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