Who's the Fittest? -- A Silly Old Thing
There's an old competition among young people that goes:
"What's the toughest sport?"
"Who's the fittest athlete?"
It's all just silly.
Bike racers suffer the most and the longest.
XC ski racers have the highest VO2 Max.
Lifters are the strongest.
Fighters take the most abuse.
All sports people get hurt more than simple exercise-maintenance folk.
Every activity has its strong-point. And everyone who does the activity gets used to it and finds it quite reasonable to do. And they need to do certain kinds of activities and eat in certain ways and rest in certain ways and take certain precautions and run particular risks to do the activities. They're all different.
But something perhaps worth noting is that everyone needs activities that shock their joints and tendons in order to keep them and their bones strong. We need to stress and "knock" our bones and joints to keep them happy.
And men need to do more muscle and power work to stay their healthiest, as compared to women.
If men do endurance work for nearly all their activity then they're more prone to injury and sickness.
If either men or women do more than, like, 15 hours a week of high-effort endurance activity then what I've read lately from health'n'fitness dudes like Mark Sisson (http://www.marksdailyapple.com) shows them to be more likely to get sick or injured. That kind of exercise results in an awful lot of oxidizing free radicals and cortisol and sugar in your system, wearing things down faster than they can be built up -- or just having a whole lot of wearing away going along with the rebuilding. The furnace is burning awful hot.
As regards all-round fitness, have you seen the CrossFit dudes and dudettes lately? The Power People have added Sprinting and Endurance to their scenes and come up impressively. They have these "WOD" (workout of the day) Challenges that they put up on YouTube.
They also have the annual, global CrossFit Games. Here's a highlights vid: http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=d56vncB267k. Basically, they and their ilk have their fast-paced half-hour routines involving a bunch of intense exercises. Keep up if you can! These folks seem like the fittest, all-round. At any rate, they have a great base core. And if they don't overdo it (like drop the competition and over-psych music) it seems like there's some lifelong potential in there. This kind of thing needs to merge a bit with Tai Chi to add Sustainability to its attributes. Otherwise, it can be just another misguided, malperforming, (self)exploitative youth mating ritual.
I bet that some kind of quick-paced calisthenics routine should be part of everybody's day. Ya gotta keep covering your bases. Especially your core, as they say. Or you're gonna get hurt and wear out.
Here's a routine my pal Curt mentioned:
> 25 v-ups (on your back, toes greet fingers)
> 50 kettlebell snatches
> 25 push-ups
> 50 kettlebell swings
> 50 burpees
> 50 kettlebell clean & press
> 50 mountain-climbers
> the record for the "300" workout is about 11 minutes.
So why do this stuff? Fit for life, man. You need your body to live. But you also need it to die, or for hard times along the way, for sure. I'm thinking that keeping some good base fitness gives me a better chance if/when things go wrong. If your head and body are on straight then if/when you get sick, the goal is to get through it all in good order. And when it comes time to die, hey, it seems that if your mind/soul/body/spirit/motivation -- all that kind of thing -- are in good fettle, then you'll be best prepared for your toughest fight. Heck, it might even be a breeze...