Consistency Matters in Health
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
If you’re like the many who made a New Year’s resolution to get back into shape, or one of those who are waiting eagerly until it’s safe to go back into the gym once again (maybe both), you might have noticed that it’s very easy to become complacent with one too many ‘rest’ days.
If you’re one of those in the guilty club, your time spent not ‘pumping iron’ can lead to some weight gains as well as your muscles can lose their ‘cut’ look.
The same can be said for those who are past their 50s, who would probably start feeling a loss in their strength and stamina as time goes on.
Surprisingly, there’s a common link between these two phenomena, but it has a very simple, but difficult solution.
We’re talking about the concept of atrophy of course.
Unlike the similarly-worded cousin entropy, atrophy has nothing to do with thermodynamics and physics, but has everything to do with the human body. It’s one of the many amazing things your body can do to adapt according to its environment.
What is atrophy and why does it happen?
If you’re stuck in a desk job and hardly ever move the entire day, or you just don’t like to be active and exercise a lot, your body realises it doesn’t need to put effort to build muscle it’s not going to use. So, the muscles you have slowly waste away.
It’s the same story with astronauts who live for months in zero gravity. Because their muscles don’t need to work as hard lifting objects or moving around, they could also experience this happen during their time in space.
Of course, there are some more complicated medical reasons behind a person experiencing muscle atrophy. Unfortunately for most of us, those are very rare instances in medicine.
Can it be prevented?
Fortunately, recovering from muscle atrophy is completely possible. The best cure for muscle atrophy is a good, balanced diet (with a special emphasis on protein rich food) and plenty of exercise.
That’s right, if your muscles have started to atrophy, that just means you’ll have to find ways to get off your comfy chair and have some good old physical activity.
If you do manage to get out and about, it will do wonders for you a decade or two down the road, when the body’s natural capacity to build muscle slows down. Being physically fit now is a great investment for the future.
Do you think it’s too late for you? Think again. There’s no such thing as ‘too late.’ The only difference is that you’ll have to take things a little slower, and then build on your physical fitness from there if you’re starting at a more advanced age.
Focus on both aerobic and strength-building exercises and always make sure to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Doing that can easily prevent muscle atrophy and keep you happy, healthy and physically active long into your senior years.
However, there is something very important that you have to do in order to make this possible. You need to be consistent.
Probably one of the biggest reasons why most people fall short of their new year’s resolution of being more physically fit can be attributed to the importance of consistency. Being able to stick to a fitness regimen and meal plan takes dedication, willpower and discipline.
It’s very easy to cheat on your goal and miss a couple of days, but that’s a slippery slope that can only take you further away from meeting your goal.
Not being able to maintain consistency in your fitness goals will only hurt you in the long run and rob you of the many benefits that only consistency in health and fitness can reward you with.
The same can be said in anything you do to elevate your fitness and health. Whatever goals and plans you may have in living a healthier lifestyle, my wish for you is to be consistent, disciplined and determined in your actions.