Strength – Endurance – Nutrition

These are three terms that are not exclusive to elite athletes, but often are ones that only get used in a sports setting. They are terms that can and should be used to describe what each one of us should be focusing on.

No matter if you are someone who works at a desk or a firefighter pulling someone from a burning building, if you seek a healthy lifestyle it will revolve around these three terms. Throughout life there will always be heavy objects to move, something that will make you stop and catch your breath, and illnesses that will challenge your overall health, so if we can manage these three things we will have a pretty good grasp of health and wellness.


Strength by definition is, “our power to resist force”. This may seem very generic, but in other words it’s our ability to move or stop objects and as we age our ability to develop strength diminishes. In order to develop strength, we must over time increase the loads that we try to move by pulling, pushing, dragging, and/or holding. Some movements that resemble these: dead-lifting (pulling), squatting (pushing), bench or shoulder pressing (pushing) and dragging. Implementing these exercises with gradually increasing loads will improve your strength drastically. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I really wish a wasn’t this strong!”


“Our ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.” Now a good example of this would be running a marathon, but it is not exclusive to runners. Playing with your grandkids all day, doing work in the yard, and walking the dogs all require endurance. The demands may be different, but they still reflect on our ability to endure working or moving for an extended period of time. Now how do we work on this? Simple, just like strength training you have to gradually increase either the amount of work in a given time frame or increase the amount of time that you do an activity. An example of this would be decreasing your mile run time from 10 minutes to seven minutes or increasing the distance you run in 10 minutes from one mile to one and a half miles. Increasing your endurance can help decrease your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes as well as boost your immune system to get your through flu season!


Without good nutrition you will hinder both your ability to increase your strength and endurance! Now, everyone seems to have their go to “diet” when they want to drop a few pounds before summer, but for the most part every successful “diet” will have some of the same components, real food and no added sugar. But what does that even mean? Real food would be the stuff that has an expiration date like bananas or meat from the market and some examples of added sugar are soda or candy. Some of the simplest advice for trying to eat healthier would be to stay on the outside of the grocery store, no fast food, and no sugary drinks like soda or sweet tea. As Greg Glassman, Founder of CrossFit says, “Eat meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and NO SUGAR.”

In closing, you can read all of the health and fitness magazines that you want, but when it comes down to it, if you want to have the ability to handle most things that life throws at you, just remember to lift heavy (strength), move fast (endurance), and eat clean (nutrition).

Dr. Terry Talley, retired educator and author of The STEM Coaching Handbook, is the National STEM Manager for STEMscopes. Talley holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Mississippi University for Women and an Ed.D. in Curriculum, Instruction and Administration from the University of North Texas. She began her career as a secondary science teacher, later serving as a Science Teacher Specialist, Dean of Instruction, and eventually Supervisor for Science. Dr. Talley joined Rice University as the Program Manager for STEM Professional Development with Accelerate Learning and the National Institute for STEM Education. Prior to joining Rice, she was at the SRT-STEM Center as Program Director for the UTMB Office of Education Outreach in Galveston, TX.

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