Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost
The Road Not Taken
There are many ways to get fit.
Many of these ways are not attractive – at least not to me. Long, boring cardio, burpees till you puke… You get the idea.
There are new, trendy, fitness routines coming out all the time. Some are good, and some are outright ridiculous.
One can be led to believe that if they’re not doing the latest craze, they’ll be left in the dust.
This turns off many who would otherwise find their road to fitness: “If I need to go through all of this $%#! to attain health, count me out!”
Fitness choices include: weightlifting (bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, powerlifting), bodyweight training (progressive calisthenics), kettlebells, bands, awkward object lifting, long “steady-state” cardio, high-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.), yoga, Pilates, barre, Zumba, and so many more.
Though I enjoy some of these disciplines, many people do not. And fortunately, that’s okay. There are many roads to fitness, including less regimented ones than those listed above.
Activity of almost any kind – particularly in the great outdoors – is beneficial, as long as there isn’t a serious injury risk. There’s walking, hiking, cycling, climbing, water sports, yard work, gardening, participating in a sport… even playing with kids.
The activity may not be anything with a fancy name and logo, but if it gets your body moving in a logical fashion, you’re good to go. The key is to get the key systems of the body working, including the cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous systems for starters.
A few additional points to remember when choosing your fitness path:
1. Strength work in some capacity becomes very important as we age.
2. The activity can be as regimented or non-regimented as you like. As long as it’s practiced with some regularity. Yes, more regimented, intense, and regular activity nearly always yields more results than less, but…
But the real key to making it all work, in my opinion, is to do something you really enjoy. That changes everything. Then you’ll be willing to get up early in the morning, or go out in the cold, and stick to the activity once you hit a bump in the road (and that always happens at some point).
1. Do something you enjoy
2. Do something you’d be willing to do several times a week.
3. Do something that allows you to get some sun and fresh air.
4. Do something that develops the key systems of the body and important attributes, including strength and power, flexibility, balance, and endurance. If your activity of choice does not cover all the bases, consider a second key activity to fill in the gaps. For instance, activities that work the cardiovascular system and lower body, such as walking or hiking, can be paired with yoga or weight training to build strength and flexibility.
Following this plan will not only keep you physically healthy and fit, it will also help keep you mentally and emotionally healthy too, as the value of following a sound physical fitness program has benefits beyond the physical.
There are indeed many paths to fitness, but the best path of all is the one that best fits you.
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Patrick Rooney is the Founder and President of GREEK PHYSIQUE™, LLC, which specializes in functional body sculpting for men and women in Middle Tennessee and worldwide via phone and Skype. Patrick is Certified through the National Association of Fitness Certification (NAFC). Email questions or training inquiries to [email protected].