Wednesday musings, 11/16/16: General preparation

Wednesday musings, 11/15/16
This amazing thing happens when you begin exercising. You feel stronger. At everything. If you take up a running program, you will initially feel an overall increase in strength and endurance. This is called general preparation* and is a wonderful byproduct of the onset of fitness.

Once you have been doing the new exercise program for a little while, this transfer of general fitness will no longer occur. Instead, your strength and endurance will become specific to the activity you are doing. For instance, once you have been running for three months, you will continue to become a better runner because that is what you are practicing. You will not become better at picking things up from the floor or lifting up the carryon bag to put in the overhead bin. The act of running doesn't transfer to lifting strength. Additionally, the increased endurance you build up from running won’t necessarily translate to swimming or hiking. When you practice one movement skill, you become more efficient at doing that thing. While your heart muscle will be better conditioned from your running program, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are coordinated and efficient at other types of endurance activity.

When it comes to fitness, become a jack of all trades. Dabble in different things, unless a specific task really resonates with you. If that happens, pursue that thing, but make sure you add in other aspects occasionally. If you are a runner or practice yoga, become friends with the weight room once a week. If you are a powerlifter, remember it’s important to still be able to walk up a flight of stairs. Embrace the things you love, but train for life. 

*Reference: Soviet Sport and Methods, by Dr. Anatoly P. Bondarchuk