By James Stewart 16 Nov 2020
“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” ~Denis Waitley
Exercise. It is a word that strikes fear into many individuals, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you dread the thought of exercising, then reframe how you look it and strive to find more adventure in your life instead.
Many people enjoy exercise so much that they integrate as one of the major important aspects in their daily lifestyle. There are many people who cannot go a day without exercising, but the pros and cons of that is an article for another day. However, we can certainly become inspired from the individuals who manage to successfully integrate daily exercise into their lives, especially understanding the mindset involved. I happen to be an individual who is active on a daily basis, along with being a high performance running coach. However, it hasn't been an easy journey to motivate myself to this point, because I've survived the ill effects of chronic fatigue syndrome and I also have difficulty maintaining structure and routine that leads to a lot of chronic procrastination. I understand how hard it can be. So here is my advice on moving forward successfully.
You have been granted this wonderful opportunity to live and to make the most of your life, so don't waste it. As humans, we didn't evolve to sit on a couch or behind a desk all day. Humans evolved over countless generations embeded in the wildness of nature; it's where we evolved and its a core part of who we are, even if our city lives increasingly make us removed from it. From a cellular, genetic and even mental perspective, we haven't evolved far enough in time to override our dispensation for spending a lot of time moving around in nature. When we stop moving, we are going against nature, and the health of your body will suffer. There is no way around this, if you're aren't moving, you're checking out from the planet sooner than later.
I personally don't believe being sedentary is making the most out of life. Regular exercise will make you more functional and give you more endurance to do all the other things you want to do in life. I don't think many of us will look back at our life on our deathbed and wish we spent more time behind a desk, but we will think fondly of the people we met and the adventures we experienced. Living a life that is satisfying and enriching is something I want for you to experience.
Fitness is something you can get into the habit of doing and when you find an activity which you really enjoy, this is actually the secret for success. In the en, it makes exercise far easier to maintain. And why do things in life you don't enjoy??? Don't force yourself to exercise, find something you love to do that gets your body moving!!
Its easy to give up on something you hate doing, but its not easy to give up what you love doing. The secret is to find what you love. Incorporate your fitness with a passion. I acknowledge there is great variation in what works for each person, what drives or interests someone in their recreational and health pursuits, and what level of health and fitness we currently have. There are many ways to develop fitness depending on what your goals are and there are even multiple pathways to achieve the same goal. Only you can find this answer for yourself, but you must find it.
I often use adventure photography to help shift my mind away from any discomfort or tiredness I might be feeling when I am out running. Before I know it, i've been out for 8, 10, 12 hours or longer taking photos, moving around different parts of the mountains that I normally wouldn't experience or look at closely if I was just going for a standard hike or trail run. Furthermore, if I had intended to go out for a 12 hour trail run before I set out on the adventure, I could easily talk myself out of it - "Oh that's going to be a long hard day." Because it was consequence of an adventure, and my mindset was in a different place completely, I was able to get through the hours without really thinking too much about the effort involved in actually doing it. I was simply enjoying the moment I was having in life, my mind was completely engrossed in what I was doing. I didn't want to be anywhere else. This is the place you want to find yourself in.
Adventure doesn’t need to be something epic. It can be anything new or interesting that gets you outside briefly. Even a short walk in an urban park can be an adventure. Anything that gets you moving around plant life, mountains, water, and trees, can be restorative to your mental and physical health.
As kids, we naturally have a sense of adventure, and we never think about exercise, we just go out and have fun, we play, we enjoy the moment. This is what we lose as adults, but it truly is a recipe for health and well-being as an adult as well. This means that for true adventure its more than a cheap thrill of adrenaline, but more about an adventure that helps you reconnect with your true inner self.
There are no age limits on adventure, so saying you are too old is not going to cut it. This is a self-defeatest attitude. If you are aging it means your adventures won't be the same as a 20 year-old, but like I mentioned earlier, an adventure doesn't have to be something epic. Even walking to a local park can be an adventure. Think to yourself how you can make it more of an adventure? Maybe do an activity in the park -- how about drawing or painting different parts in the park, you could do some light calisthenics, yoga, or dynamic stretching. There are endless possibilities....
Adventure makes us feel alive and that is what makes it so important. Getting stuck into the same routine can become a deadening force, boxing yourself into a way of life that numbs you over time and essentially makes you abandon your inner spirit. One day you wake up and realise you're not having fun or enjoying life anymore.
The great thing about adventure is no adventure is ever identical to a previous one. Variety is definitely a spice of life and adventure provides this in bucket loads. Break up the monotony of routine by aiming to do something new every day! Ok ok, maybe that's pushing it, so remember the saying you need to learn to walk before you can run. How about finding what works, maybe something new every month, then every fortnight, then every week. Make something new a habitual routine in your life, but don't make it so hard on yourself that you make it an impossible commitment. Find the commitment you're willing to do no matter how difficult your life is or how tired you feel.
If exercise is a challenge for you, then I urge you to simply walk outside and explore, and don't even bring to mind the notion you are forcing yourself to exercise into the mental equation at all. Adventure can really help to make you feel alive and that is what makes doing regularly so important. My advice from a mindset perspective is to simply do things that are enjoyable to you. If you can’t think of anything, try to learn something new or do something you've never tried before.
Adventure is important because it is the best way to learn life. Adventure can help to give you an insight into who you are in a very profound way. You just have to take the chance to shift out of your present comfort zone. You're going to have to get used to experiencing some discomfort or change. Pushing yourself beyond some previous limit and stepping out of the safety bubble where you might rarely try to experience anything new.
It's very easy to get stuck in our safe routine and sometimes we just forget how to live. Adventure implies experiencing something new, and this might involve some level of fear or uncertainty. The only way you can overcome these attributes is by slightly pushing beyond your level of comfort and learning that the next step forward wasn't so bad afterall. You can act despite your fears. Please don't confuse this with risking your life, but it simply means you try to go beyond what you can currently do in some small way.
Adventure really helps to build self-confidence more than anything else, and with each successive adventure where you challenge yourself a little bit more, you gain more experience and ultimately develop more confidence.
Adventures gives life more added meaning, purpose, and pleasant memories, which stick in our minds throughout our lives, more than a lot of other moments we experience. These are the moments we will cherish and reflect upon in our latter lifetime. Ultimately, adventure is the catalyst that feed our dreams and turns them into reality.
For those that say there isn't enough time, well I say to that, we all have 20-30 minutes each day we could spend on some small adventure, and the health benefits will probably end up creating more time throughout the rest of the day anyway due to the added benefits that flow forth from an uplifting in your inner spirit.
Keep the right mindset about adventure. If you believe that adventure is out of reach, or beyond you, it always will be. On the other hand, if you believe adventure to be an enriching experience that you do regularly, then this will also become your reality. The first step is embracing a more adventurous outlook on yourself and life in general.
When you combine your fitness activities with nature and adventure, you can get fit and decompress from the stress of life all in one activity. This is effective time management and its health producing at the highest level. I want you to find something you love doing, but it is ok if you don’t know what that is at first. It could be hiking, trekking, trail running, mountain biking, canoeing etc… Combine as many as you like in your adventurous life, there are so many choices for people of all levels of fitness and mobility.
First and foremost, a large majority of people, not only exercise to lose weight and get fitter, but also from a mental health perspective. Active people are far less likely to have depression and anxiety, than sedentary people. That's not to say exercise cures it, but it helps to manage the conditions and improve mood. The associated phsyical health benefits don't even need to be mentioned. We all know it is good for us. This should be enough to get you motivated to step outside and take on life!