Functional Fitness and Random Acts of Kindness

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Functional Fitness usually is not associated with Random Acts of Kindness. Today I managed to tie the two together and wanted to share the moment with you.

As most of you know, I'm co-moderator of the Spark Team for those who joined SP during the week of November 11th. One of the team discussion forums is about Random Acts of Kindness. Most of us do those on a daily basis and never really think twice about it. Today I thought about it in light of functional fitness. An explanation is in order.

I was in a nearby town today just taking a little road trip. I ran across a female, alone, in a stalled truck. We were in a country town and being the city boy and feeling pretty safe, I got out to see if I could help. She was in a Ford F150 XLT, the kind with four doors, two rows of seats, and a long bed. Let's say it was a heavy truck.

Rather than leave her out in the middle of the street, the other male who came up went along with my suggestion to push her out of the way. The guy was an adult, muscular and fit looking, and about half my age (that will become important in a minute).

We started pushing the truck by hand and were moving it just fine. About 1/4 block later the driver began to turn the corner and I noticed my helper was beginning to breathe heavily.

I snickered a little to myself because I wasn't aware of breathing as yet!

I decided to play the moment and began pushing faster, to the point of a near run, and my helper kept up with me. We continued for about a block or so until the vehicle seemed clear of everything that might get in the way. At the point when we quit, the other guy doubled over and began gasping for air. I smiled, stood straight, and asked if he wanted to help me push it just a little farther. I thought he was going to pass out at the suggestion.

Oh yeah, I took a few deep breaths but the other guy gasped for a couple of minutes. I made sure he was fine, that the female had somebody to call for further help, and I jogged back to my car. Snicker, snicker!

Yes, I did my Random Act of Kindness, but in so-doing I felt a great surge of smugness. Eighteen months ago I would have insisted on pushing her truck with my car. Today, it was a fun challenge and one that demonstrates a little of what they mean about functional fitness.

Keep in mind that at the start of this journey, I was 90+ pounds heavier and not too far removed from an eight day hospital stay. Fitness was only something of a distant memory at that point in my life.

If you're reading this and you know you're overweight and out of shape, believe me - you can make a difference in your life. If you have any of these signs:

you don't want to talk about the number on the scale (check)

you get winded walking up a flight of stairs (check)

your ankles or feet are swollen (check)

you can't tie your shoe laces (check)

you can't clip your own toenails (check)

you keep buying larger clothes because surely the manufacturers are making your sizes smaller (check)

you have difficulty walking from the parking lot to your office (check)

you have difficulty fastening seat belts in cars and in airplanes (check)

There other signs, but you get the idea. I'd say if you have a couple of these, you need to re-assess your place in this world and what you're going to do about your fitness, functional or not.

Begin a program and be consistent with it. (calories, cardio, strength). Today is a good day to make a change... do it now!

Visit my map of my virtual run/walk across the USA since 4-15-12:
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