Thoughtful physical training gives hope, and hope sustains health


After 2.5 decades in the wellness industry, I think I’ve finally understood why I’m so passionate about helping people improve their health.

It’s not because I like to exercise, and it’s not because I’m fascinated by human physiology. My passion comes from giving. And that is the gift of hope.

Let’s talk a bit about the psychology of hope and how it influences our outlook.

Back in graduate school, I enrolled in a course called Positive Psychology as part of my PhD program. I had planned my thesis to address a specific type of behavior change, and I wanted to learn how to motivate others. The class covered general topics such as gratitude, compassion, authenticity and more. But the psychological attribute I found most interesting was hope.

In hope theory, there are all kinds of key elements, including perceived ability, goal-related thinking, attributions, and outcome values. Each item is an addendum to the overall sense of hope, but the basic definition of hope has been defined as “the perception that one can achieve desired goals.”

The definition stuck with me. I remember thinking that hope can’t be bought, sold or mistaken. Hope has to come from within, but it’s not magic, and I believed it could be made if every component of hope was addressed. It was then that I realized that I wanted to be part of this process and help others generate hope.

I had experienced generating hope through my own health journey, and my technical knowledge was in the area of ​​exercise science – so I knew health and wellness would be the vehicle through which I could help others.

And that’s what continues to inspire me today. If even one person laces up their tennis shoes to resume a training session because of my influence, I will have contributed to their little hope factory.

But this week’s move is all about generating upper body stability and strength, and it’s suitable for beginners and advanced users alike. Please meet the Dumbbell Piston Row.

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1. Select a very light pair of dumbbells and adjust to a 45 degree incline bench.

2. Position yourself face down on the incline bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand.

3. Slowly extend your right elbow back in a rowing motion while allowing your elbow to naturally bend 90 degrees.

4. When the dumbbell reaches chest level, slowly reverse direction and begin lowering back to the starting point.

5. As you do this, row simultaneously with the left arm. Get into a rhythm where one arm lowers while the other raises until you complete 12 total reps.

6. Perform two to three sets.

This exercise is a safe and effective way to generate a little more hope with strength training. It’s one of those moves that feels very natural, so almost anyone can perform it successfully. Let’s do it together!

Director of Business Development and Population Health Solutions for Quest Diagnostics, Matt Parrott started this column 20 years ago in Little Rock. He holds a doctorate in education (sports studies), a master’s degree in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

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