The martial arts and movie legend Bruce Lee once said that his physical training was a form of artistic movement, and not just a means to prepare for hand-to-hand combat. He explained that his practice of martial arts, lifting weights, running, stretching, and doing other physical conditioning was a form of self-expression through the human body. He is also considered a pioneer in the use of customized diet plans, vitamins and supplements, and electric devices for muscle-specific training. This philosophy on physical fitness has influenced successive generations of martial artists and fitness enthusiasts.
Fitness for All
Today, people are even more creative or artful in their physical expression through sport and fitness. The rapid advancements in science and technology have given people new insights into what works and what does not work in terms of strength building and muscle conditioning. Computers are now used to measure gains and changes in physiology before and after exercise. Modalities of training have also changed and expanded to include routines for men, women, and children. Even persons with disabilities or pregnant can now engage in safe, appropriate exercises to maintain their health.
Fit and Pregnant
For example, there are now safe pregnancy Pilates classes that are hosted online or live in a certified gym. Thousands of pregnant women have experienced the benefits of remaining fit all throughout the trimester of carrying a baby in the womb. Many have even sworn that giving birth was so much easier given the time they have devoted to breathwork, stretching, and muscle toning. By listening to their bodies, getting their doctor’s clearance, and joining classes under a certified trainer, many pregnant women who once feared doing fitness routines are now safer and more confident about working out.
Enabling PWDs to Be Fit
Persons with disabilities (PWDs) also need a good workout. In the past, PWDs were seen as almost helpless and had to be confined to a hospital or inside their bedrooms. One good example of the possibility of being healthy despite disability is the invention called Health Pedal, a contraption that could either be based on a bicycle or wheelchair platform that allows PWDs to move around with the use of their arms strength. In short, they are able to get a good upper body workout by pedaling with their arms and hands. There are also modifications of specific martial arts like Karate that allow a person using a wheelchair to practice punching and blocking, no doubt, inspired by wheelchair-bound basketball players who even organized their own league and tournaments.
Art Sport or Sport Art
The rise in popularity of DanceSport also paved the way for the not-so-athletic but rhythmically gifted to become more agile and strong. Not all can lift weights and contact sports like basketball or boxing does not suit everyone. For those who love to have a good time while dancing has found DanceSport as the perfect combination to achieve fitness goals while having the time of their lives on the dance floor. Dancing requires a lot of dexterity, flexibility, and strength especially for routines when the male dancer needs to lift his female partner above the floor. When competing, partners need to have several dance routines to be performed in a single night which, during practice, allows them to develop cardio-vascular strength and muscle power. This truly artistic sport now has a worldwide following and has its own international competitions, attesting to its popularity and benefits as an exercise.
Pole dancing is also another highly artistic routine that has enormous exercise benefits. In what was earlier seen as somewhat an activity associated with burlesque, pole dancing has gained the respect it deserves and is now viewed as a combination of athletics and ballet on a pole. The muscle control, suppleness, and concentration required to execute pole dancing movements and positions is nothing short of Olympic level fitness. At the same time, it is highly entertaining since it allows the audience to appreciate the beauty of the human form when suspended in air or positioned on a pole, sometimes even looking like a pretzel. When set to powerful music, the pole dancer exhibits various full stretches of the legs, bodily contortions, while the arms and hands firmly establish a solid grip and base along the pole.
Outdoors or indoors, figure ice skating is perhaps one of the most artistic forms there is. Audiences are mesmerized when a figure skater effortlessly glides across the frozen rink like an angel flying on air. Much like the physical strength and dexterity of ballerinas and professional dancers, figure ice skaters train themselves a lot in the gym, on the dance floor, and on ice to achieve perfection of form.
Just Go out and Work Out
Whatever you fancy, be it a martial art as practiced by Bruce Lee, pumping iron in the gym, or something more delicate but no less physically demanding like Dancesport, just do it. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to attaining health and fitness is procrastination, or not getting around to starting a workout. But with a little motivation and a willingness to have fun, working out while expressing art through physical movement is one of the best ways to make use of one’s time, mind, and body.