THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion publishes the governments’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (see link for the latest, 2008 version). A post on the Office’s blog, BE ACTIVE YOUR WAY: PROMOTING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY titled, “Active Lifestyle as Pursuit, Not Destination” on February 24, 2016 was written by Alexandra Black. She begins by exhorting readers to see health as a lifelong pursuit rather than a specific goal to be reached and enjoyed in that moment. “Many athletes will tell you that you never really ‘arrive’ when it comes to sport. With each win comes hunger for another. Every personal best leads to a new goal to pursue. Yet when it comes to health and fitness, there is so much focus on arrival – on the “after picture” and the weight on the scale. But active living is an ongoing pursuit, a day by day journey to living a happier life. “
Ms. Black is a Health Promotion Manager at IHRSA (International Health, Racquet, & Sportsclub Association), which represents businesses that can assist with these lifelong activities. The piece goes on to encourage readers not to focus on weight loss or a fitness goal as the end point of your efforts, but to think of maintaining a lifestyle that involves activity and a healthy diet. She offers very helpful advice. Perhaps many will be motivated by this perspective and take the recommended steps to become more active. However, nothing more is mentioned about becoming athletes, who she seems to think have an ideal perspective on activity.
Has having a NEBULOUS GOAL of living an active, healthy life worked for YOU? Do you dream of being considered an “athlete” in a sport? Do you wish you had a bit more “hunger” to win? Want to be driven to have “each personal best lead to a new goal to pursue”? YES! That’s me, and possibly it’s you too.
We can compete as recreational athletes in many sports, and find great satisfaction competing with ourselves (longest run, best golf score of the season, most points shooting baskets in the backyard, longest bike ride, etc.) and with others in organized or pick-up events. I think running is the most accessible and affordable sport, and easiest to master. Strength building is an essential training component, of benefit to general life activities and other sports as well. Power walking is a great alternative for those challenged by running for various reasons, and potentially a gateway habit to a running if physical limitations don’t exist. What’s the best way to become an athlete runner? According to Bill Bowerman, the legendary University of Oregon track coach, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” A pathway that enables athletic competition involves first committing to compete, then setting competition goals, safely training to meet them, charting progress towards goals, and taking bows when you reach them!
Following this pathway breaks the BIG GOAL (HEALTHY LIFESTYLE), which initially may seem despairingly unattainable, into several that are smaller, step-wise, measurable, and achievable. Along the way to those goals you’ll likely learn new workouts, find yourself exploring new ways to improve performance, and meeting benchmarks. With evidence of accomplishment you’ll gain confidence. Certainly you’ll also fall short on performances and fall off from training intermittently (no one’s perfect), but get back on track, because of your athletic “hunger”. Running is one sport among many in which mastery requires not merely acquiring specific skills and building physical strength, but developing mental toughness. Yes, athletes feel they never “arrive” and THIS IS WHAT MAKES SPORT COMPETITION to use Ms. Black’s words, “A DAY-BY-DAY JOURNEY to living a happier life.”
By the way, EarnedRuns strives to help you become a competitive athlete runner.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
New! Search Box
Earned Runs is now searchable! Check it out...