Somewhere along the way we collectively decided that the only way to actually achieve our health and fitness goals is to go to the gym and exercise super hard. Oftentimes we leave feeling crushed, more tired and beat up than when we first got there.
The truth is that many people really like that feeling. It can feel like you really pushed yourself and accomplished something difficult. It can give you an escape from the sometimes mundane nature of everyday life.
But is this really the best way to create a healthy body? Should we really be going so hard so often?
To be clear, I’m not talking about athletes working towards the highest potential they can achieve for performance. That is an entirely different conversation and does in fact require sacrifice.
I’m talking about a huge percentage of the rest of us who just want to be healthy, physically capable of doing the things we enjoy, have great energy and look good in the mirror.
So today my goal is to let you “off the hook.” Ready?
You do NOT have to crush yourself in the gym to be healthy
In fact, I would argue that you may be heading down a path of decreased health if you continue to push yourself super hard every time you workout. It is also likely that after a while you won’t want to keep working so hard and will be more likely to just stop exercising all together.
What if we looked at things a little differently? What if we change the word exercise to movement? What is your first reaction when you hear the word exercise? Are you super excited and ready to go crush a hard workout? Or do you have a negative gut reaction and think of it as something you should do or have to do?
I’m guessing that many of us fall into the latter category. I really like to change the verbiage to movement because there are so many less feelings, emotions and expectations attached to that. What if the goal is just to move, and to move often? What if we also found as many ways as possible to have FUN while moving?
Fun, Health and Longevity
There is no getting around the fact that as humans we are absolutely wired to move. So once we accept that we can then ask ourselves some better questions to create a sustainable lifestyle that incorporates fun and movement AND makes us feel better (not worse).
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What are some movement related things that I really enjoy? (basketball, frisbee, swimming, etc) Write down as many as you can think of.
- How often can I realistically do those enjoyable activities?
- What can I do to help support those fun things and continue to do them at an old age?
- How strong do I need to be?
- How much aerobic capacity do I need to have?
- How can I incorporate some mobility work to keep my joints healthy long term?
If we start asking these questions and move in the direction of fun, health and longevity I think you’ll find that you no longer dread working out and exercise. Instead you’ll begin craving more movement because it just feels good and it turns out that fun is fun.
As a result of having fun and moving, you’ll create something that is sustainable because you will look forward to it. Spending some time to support the fun movement with some structured strength and aerobic work will seem like a no brainer because it makes quality of life much higher.
Re-imagine Your “Health and Fitness”
Finally, really think about why it’s important to you to be healthy and fit. Healthy and fit for what? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of expectations from outside sources. But what does that mean for you personally without any outside influences? If your goal isn’t to be a world class athlete, limit those super hard workouts that leave you feeling crushed.
Move. Have Fun. Have fun moving often.
Please note that if you have any health issues or physical limitations, you should consult with a doctor before engaging in any exercise program.
Pick up a copy of David’s free workbook “The Pursuit” and uncover what makes you feel alive and start becoming the most fulfilled, authentic, and fully alive version of yourself possible.