The key to getting back into pre lockdown shape lies is loving who you are and remembering that sculpting your body goes a long way toward moulding your mind.
Rene Descartes once said “Cognito, ergo sum” or “I think, Therefore I am”, in English. At the time he was pondering his own existence and came to the conclusion that the act of thinking and displaying cognitive ability was proof of his existence. Following on the theme, your longevity is dependent on you staying active. In essence you move therefore you are and the exercise philosophy you choose will do as much for your body as it will for your mind. As all the Instagram mental health specialists will tell you, having a strong body and mind help you in all areas of your life, including your career.
The thing is that with lockdown holding us captive for months on end, we have all become a bit squidgy around the edges with our belts hugging us like we hold our favorite Grandma.
Many of us might have made a pledge to make our way back to an active lifestyle or possibly decided to try a new skill. Whatever it may be, it’s important to keep moving. Whether you are partaking in some sensual swaying salsa dancing or power walking your way up that angry hill, just remember movement is life and summer will make fools of us all when we all don’t fit into our bespoke clothing as it once did.
One thing that we all experience that may deter us from persevering with our objective is the intimidation factor. Being a novice is not easy. You may feel insecure and uncoordinated. Often when we start working out it can feel like we’re wearing the gear incorrectly or misusing the equipment. Hey guess what, it’s ok! That voice screaming at you in your head to quit telling you that you are making a fool of yourself shouldn’t be listened to. Grab a skillet and lob it at those voices.
The exercise philosophy that you decide to go for depends on what your goals and interests are.
For example you may find yourself trying gymnastics, calisthenics, plyometrics (jumping training focused on building power, speed and strength), yoga or pilates. If you enjoy getting calluses you’ll probably end up at your local gym doing traditional weight training.
For those with squidgy edges that they would like to get rid of, a metabolic conditioning regimen will be required with the best results tending to come from High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). If you’re wondering what that looks like, think of the circuit at the gym. It will feel like you’re working in a salt mine while you are doing it but the rewards will be almost immediate.
Whatever you try it’s a good idea to get some advice from a biokinetics specialist because too often poorly executed movements are done by people trying too hard to look cool rather than be healthy while their spines squelch and deform under the load. The result is that you do not actually look good as you think and more importantly not safe for the health of your spine.
One piece of advice that is worth its weight in gold is to learn and patiently work through exercise or movement patterns progressions properly. If you think about how often amateur cross-fitters get injured, the emphasis on movement will make perfect sense. Take your time with each movement and patiently wait for your body to adapt before you aggressively pursue your goals or chase “gains”.
If, however you have a great calling to the outdoors, try your hand at adventure trail activity. It will give you an impressive cardiovascular workout with the added benefit of some gorgeous views. You might consider mountain biking, canoe- ing or if you feel confident enough, entering a triathlon like Iron Man. This idea is not as intimidating as you think as the organisers of the event consider every skill level and will have reduced distances for novices.
The point is that your body can do anything it puts its mind to. Think of the mad, bad and extremely dangerous to know Ranulph Fiennes. Recognised as the greatest living explorer the Brit has spent his life circumnavigating the world, being one of the oldest people to climb Everest and walking through Antarctica among other things. Apart from having to adapt to his insane decision to perform an amputation on his frost-bitten fingers in his garden tool shed, his body has had to adapt to the deoxygenated high altitude climates often in climates -30 degrees below centigrade. Like Ranulph, our bodies readily adapt to whatever external stresses we might subject it to as long as it is an environment we consistently within.
Most importantly make sure that whatever you do fulfills you. Even if you enjoy the extra lining to your waistline and have a completely different outlook to what may be vitality for you. Live life with conviction. Go rock climbing and eat a slice of cake on its summit. Take up pole dancing classes because you like being upside down. Whatever it is we are born to experience life. We are meant to immerse ourselves in all of its experiences and learn from each other and in this regard. Be like the aesthetes who devour life in their appreciation of art and beauty.
Even in our careers where we pursue an idea of happiness defined by capitalism and its endless consumerism it is important to remember to chase your own happiness. When we unwind and detach and find ourselves, we immerse ourselves in the serenity of our natural surroundings. Be it a nature a reserve or a dog park, there is a reason you are drawn or at least inclined to “get away” surrounded by flora and fauna.
In the words of poet Linton Kwesi, “Life is the greatest teacher. Love is the lesson to be learnt”. This does not pertain solely to the romantic love of a partner. However, love what you are doing and remain present in that activity. Remember, you move therefore you are and the more you love the way you move, the more you will love who you are.