Getting a Little Personal…

By Brian Cole, Personal Training Associates

There are only so many ways to say: "Eat Better and Exercise More." But I try, in these columns, to entertain through different paths which admittedly lead to that same message.

Hopefully these different paths inspire different folks.

I enjoy the writing and really appreciate the responses to me and to the Oyster Pointer ( they keep asking me back so, like any good relationship, I guess it's mutually beneficial).

Dealing with yet another major change in my life gives me the opportunity to share something with you. If I can write this openly it may be helpful for a reader or two.

Like you, my life has been full of changes. Some I've chosen, some unexpectedly thrust upon me. Many of our changes require us to face our self doubts, our limitations, our fears, and then, like it or not, to move on. But moving on means leaving something behind. That's not always pleasant and rarely is emotionless.

While we may prefer seeing ourselves as in control, as being proactive and as taking charge of our lives, as adults we soon learn the value and necessity of being adaptive.

Because change is inevitable, embracing it as opportunity rather than as a dangerous scenario seems like a healthy point of view. But to see it that way requires a strong center.

What I'm sharing here is not my personal troubles but my personal center. The constant I've turned to throughout a life full of changes. And yes, that's right, it's been exercise and physical activity.

Building strong core (foundation) muscles, strong arms and shoulders (to carry new responsibilities), strong legs ( to move forward) is the center that has benefited me. When our bodies are strong we can handle more. We stand and move more confidently. We can try new activities and look for discovery and joy in life. We have the energy to move forward instead of being stuck and unable to act.

I'm serious about the analogy between physical strength/health and the capacity to adapt/cope. I'm sharing because the timing may speak directly to some of you.

During major life changes I've found new physical challenges (a 26.2 mile marathon, vertical rock climbing, mountaineering, biking across states,…) which have occupied my mind and body. They're possible because I maintain my fitness. You can too.

Life can be difficult. How we face difficulty defines us.

If you're facing a new challenge or change life has given you, I highly recommend an obsessive approach to your physical health (and as a byproduct, your mental/emotional health as well). This is the time to immerse yourself in the challenge of self improvement. We all have plenty of room for that. Facing change this way will have lasting benefits you'll always appreciate.

Improved healthier eating/drinking habits are helpful, to be sure, but it's physical activity that'll move you in the direction you'll really want to take. Make yourself stronger. It's helped me in the past and will help you (and me) in the present/future.

Brian Cole is owner of Personal Training Associates with studios in Newport News (Port Warwick and Hilton Village). He can be reached at 757-599-5999.

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