Exercise can make every day better by improving your physical capacity. If your body is trained to do more, then your activities of daily living will take less out of you. You’ll have more strength and energy left to do the things you want to do.
Consider how many steps you take per day. If you take 8,000 steps per day, then a long trip to the grocery store might take a large amount of those. In this case, some unplanned event might take a disproportional amount of energy.
This happens frequently in real life. Maybe a car breaks down and you have to walk half a mile, or a shopping trip with friends turns into more walking than you expected. Sometimes you meet up with friends downtown for dinner, and a change of restaurant plans necessitates an urban hike.
Let’s say you increase your steps from about 8,000 to 12,000 steps a day. Then, that walk around the mall, or finding the car after a football game, won’t be such a large percentage of your activity.
It is better to be active and ready for even the things you don’t plan for.
Put this in strength terms. Some people think they don’t need to be stronger or don’t see how increased strength will benefit their daily lives, but being stronger can benefit everybody.
This is obvious for those with physically demanding jobs. For example, military, police, fire and medical personnel always have to be able to move people and things. If these people can only deadlift 200 pounds, they might not be adequately prepared for the job.
Two hundred and fifty pounds may sound like a lot. Consider, though, that many people in the general population weigh 200 pounds. If that tactical athlete must move a 160 pound teammate who is carrying 40 pounds of gear, or a 200 pound person in a fire, he is using 100% of his carrying capacity. That is too much – he or she will fatigue soon or fail the task. That doesn’t even include any gear he or she is personally carrying.
Now, if that person’s max deadlift is 350 pounds, which should be doable for most males in a first responder position, then 200 pounds is only 57% of his capacity. In this case, he should be able to move the 200 pound person much easier than if it were almost all his strength allowed.
Many people have elaborated more on this idea, and I certainly don’t claim it as an original thought. It needs to be said many more times so people understand how important strength is.
What if you aren’t a first responder; does this apply to you? Absolutely! Don’t you carry groceries, luggage or children?
If your overall work capacity and maximal strength levels are higher, then these things will not feel like a chore. They will be submaximal work, and will feel much easier. You’ll go through all your activities of daily living and you’ll be less tired at the end of the day because your body’s inherent ability is greater. This is the gift exercise gives you.
About the author
Kathryn Alexander is a strength coach and personal trainer in Austin, Texas. She loves hiking, college football, and the feel of a perfectly knurled barbell. Read more about Kathryn here.