Wreck-It Ralph is a good example of a guy I’d like to see the fitness world make more room for. Well, in a way, a growing fitness venue is making more room for Ralph, and I’ll get to that in a moment.

Ralph isn’t a white collar guy, so he works his knuckles to the bone every day. When Ralph gets back to the brick pile for a night of sleeping on broken masonry, he isn’t in the mood to get right back up and go to the gym for a workout. I say this makes Ralph an under-served individual with respect to the fitness industry.

Even though Ralph gets lots of strength training every day,he also has serious muscle imbalances that cause him some spasmodic pain from time to time. The tension makes it a relief for him to sleep on jagged bricks.

Ralph really likes pounding, pressing, hammering motions but doesn’t major much in lower body work, rowing motions, endurance work, or core muscles. If he had a trainer, I’m betting that trainer would remedy that situation.

Ralph doesn’t make much money. For whatever reason, society has decided that brain effort is worth more than bodily effort, sweat, joint discomfort, and moving stuff around, even though white collar work does move a lot of paper and costs around.

That is not to say that Mr. Incredible doesn’t have some of his own muscle imbalances, but he has a white collar job and can afford to go to a nice fitness club (or train yard) after hours to work out just to relieve stress imposed on him by his bean-counting boss. He could even hire a trainer, even though he chose to buy a book and train himself.

Ralph, on the other hand, can’t afford a trainer. He could buy a book, but he’d probably fall asleep reading it, wondering where he was going to find the time and motivation to do the stuff in it.

And then they opened a recreation center down the street. Ralph started walking to it after work and doing some lower body work, rowing work, and Pilates classes. Afterward, he would swim a bit and sit in the Jacuzzi. All this for about 7 to 8 dollars for a drop in fee.

Now some are calling him Rec-It-Ralph. That suits Ralph just fine. He likes the other people going there. And it’s a good thing. He was about to Pac it up and quit. Now he’s experiencing muscle balance, using better form at work, and he has muscle spasms much less often.

While over at the Rec center another thing happened. Ralph went across the courtyard to the public library and took up reading for relaxation. Before long, Ralph got interested in landscape design and horticulture. One thing led to another and Ralph went to school, and wound up getting his PhD in botany. He found he had no interest in game software engineering, and that his climbing skills proved useful in the rain forests where he discovered a vine that cures a childhood disease.

And that’s how the recreation center option gave the world the untapped talent of Wreck-It-Ralph.

Coming Unglued

When the body seems stuck together like undrained spaghetti, there is nothing quite like getting into the pool to loosen up. Maybe you’ve had a particularly grueling run, or intensive boot camp type workout, or cross-fit or any new challenge to your muscles, joints and connective tissues. Water can help.

Alternately moving, breathing and floating (relaxing) in the water is key. Whether you’re swimming or some form of aquatic exercises, consider the small price of admission well worth the benefits to flexibility, circulation, decompression and breathing.

Recreation centers are very useful, just in case you need assistance, say for example you get a cramp, or for any reason. More on that later.

unglue yourself

water required