I remember a time when whenever I saw someone that looked fit I, I thought: “I wish I was an athletic person like him/her, but I guess that’s simply not how I am”. See, I’ve always seen myself as a bit of a geek, with a passion for science and always focused on my hobbies such as reading fantasy or science-fiction books, gaming, learning magic tricks or making music. I simply couldn’t see myself as a fit and healthy person. Fitness is not for geeks, right? I’ve tried to do crunches and push-ups for almost five days in a row now and haven’t seen changes, I thought, I guess that’s just my genetics or something… Sounds familiar? That’s because most people tend to see fit people as different species, with their muscular and toned bodies, as if they were born and destined to be that way. That is just a simple excuse we tell ourselves to avoid making changes.
I now see how wrong I was. Two years ago I would not have believed what I have achieved and how I look now. You can do that too without having to completely change your lifestyle. There are simple changes that you can start doing right now without having to spend a lot of time from your daily routine. Most of these changes are obvious, but we don’t notice them until we start reflecting on what we do or don’t do on a daily basis.
Your mind is like a muscle: train it!
I know what you are thinking; that’s not really an activity… Well, maybe it’s not a physical activity but it is really an essential part of your daily routine if you really want to remain constant and achieve your goals. For me, this has been the most important thing. My road to getting fit started simply with trying to notice what I eat. This forced me to change my mindset and notice when I was consuming unnecessary unhealthy food, like sodas or sweets. Sounds simple but it is truly an exercise one has to be constantly doing, especially when you are so used to eat whatever is more practical.
That simple small change in habits led me to make other changes. I was already making an effort to eat better, why not start to get more active to make the most out of the changes I was already making. It then became a chain reaction in which, small change after small change, I got to where I am today: fit, healthy and comfortable with my body. I will tell you about some activities I started incorporating on my daily routine that I currently enjoy a lot.
With the easy that it is to move everywhere on a car or public transport, and with the growth of social media and streaming services, we’ve gotten used be sitting on the job, to traveling home in your car, to spend the afternoon sitting in front of the TV while snacking. Walking seems to be so useless nowadays. However, going out for walks is sometimes one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. It helps me clear my head of all the stressful thoughts about work or other things in my life. It feels like hitting a reset button after a long day. If you start walking every day I guarantee you will start feeling better and notice differences in your mood and mental health.
You can start walking 15-30 minutes every day, maybe take your dog for a walk, go to the store, or even walk to work if that is a possibility. Going for walks forces us to interact with the outside world, which we often forget being surrounded by so much technology. Remember, it’s all about remaining constant and really incorporate these activities into your daily routine. It might feel a bit hard to do it every day, but soon you will even look forward to doing it and can lead you to start seeking other ways to get even more active. Which leads me to my next point.
Working out (or finding a sport you enjoy)
This might seem obvious right? If I want to get fit I have to work out, I don’t have to read an article to know that. Well if it is that obvious why isn’t everyone doing it? Simple: because they feel they don’t have the time or feel like it is too much effort. Believe me, if you find something that you like it will be so much easier to stick to it and make progress. Now, I’m not saying it is going to be easy but that’s actually part of the fun; constantly challenge yourself and you will enjoy the process of making progress.
You don’t need to join an expensive gym and start lifting weights to be fit (although weightlifting is actually something I really enjoy). Maybe that is not for you, maybe you prefer dancing or team sports like soccer or basketball. Look for a sport that seems interesting to you, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be one of the most common sports, it could be anything that involves physical activity. Maybe you like ice skating, doing BMX, swimming with dolphins, fighting bears… wait, don’t do that. It could be anything, just try to avoid getting injured.
In my case, I have different activities I enjoy. Calisthenics is the one I enjoy the most; using your own bodyweight to perform different exercises can be very satisfactory, especially because you need to be very creative to constantly come up with new challenges and different ways to perform the exercises. Another important benefit is that you don’t need to spend money to do it, so you can forget about that excuse.
Here’s a list of activities that I find interesting and you might as well. I practice some of them but I haven’t tried all of them:
- Hiking: Go out and exercise while enjoying nature. I really love this one.
- Dancing: I don’t really dance often but whenever I do, I find it is really a good workout.
- Yoga: Many people find yoga very enjoyable and it can be very demanding physically.
- Biking: Biking is something I really enjoy and it is a very good mean of transportation instead of using your car.
- Tricking: I practiced this sport for some time and I liked it a lot. If you don’t know what tricking is you should check videos and you will be amazed. It could be described as a mixture of martial arts and acrobatics, but also incorporates some dance moves and other forms of body expression. Sounds really complicated but could be enjoyed by anyone if you find the right gym to practice it.
In other words, find and activity or sports that looks interesting to you and look for a place to practice it. Once you do that you will notice a bunch of benefits, even growing your social circle by meeting new people that share your interest in that activity.
I’ve already mentioned this a couple of times before in this article, but I really want to emphasize this: Getting fit and healthy and staying that way is hard, but that doesn’t mean it is not fun. Challenging yourself and rising up to the challenge is one of the most satisfying feelings you can have. Follow the advice I mentioned, find an activity that you like, commit to it and enjoy the process of learning and growing. I guarantee you will not regret it.