How many of you set New Year’s Resolutions? You know, lose weight, get back in shape, etc. How many of you have already broken the resolutions about losing weight, getting back in shape, etc.?
When you think of the complexity of the human body, it seems a little overwhelming. It was easy to get out of shape. It’s hard to get back into shape. Our muscles just don’t want to do the exercise. Your brain has to have the discipline to order your muscles to get in shape and stay that way.
Your muscles are the engines of your body. They move your limbs, drive blood around the body, force food through the digestive system and have many other uses. When getting fit, we usually are talking about improving our skeletal muscles, the muscles that move our head, trunk and limbs.
There are 400 skeletal muscles that shape your physique. When you exercise you are applying tension to your skeletal muscles. Your skeletal muscles support over 200 hones that make up your body. If your muscles aren’t firm your bones do not handle the load properly. This results in poor posture, which is not merely unattractive, but puts pressure on the nerves and disks along the spine. This in turn can cause back pain as well as pain and numbness in the extremities. A good exercise program tones your muscles and takes the pressure off your lower back.
Building strength is something that happens over a period of time as you work out your muscles. Muscle strength can be improved faster by using progressive resistance, such as weights, isometrics, dips, chin-ups and the like. Lifting your legs in kicking exercises, punching and kicking the heavy bag, doing push-ups and sit-ups and shadow boxing are all ways martial arts training helps to improve your muscle tone and strength in class. Also, the many movements you do in open hand forms and self-defense techniques can strengthen your muscles.
By developing muscle tone, you are improving your body’s fitness level and increasing your chance of living a long and healthy life. This, along with the other two keys of fitness, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility, will help you lead a truly successful life.