Recently, I read a book that freed me up from goals that I had held onto but that really didn’t resonate with me.
I was one of those guys who felt like he needed to run a marathon at some point in his life. Everybody I knew out here in the suburbs, minus a few rebels with 0.0 stickers on the backs of their cars, seemed to be running marathons or conquering triathlons or doing one of those races where you end up a filthy, muddy mess.
I’m not against long distance running or otherwise putting yourself through physical pain for your sport, but if I were honest with myself, I have absolutely no desire to run a marathon. I’d be content to get really good at a 5k and be done with it.
So back to this book that freed me up: The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.
Since I’m a simple man, I won’t dive into the science of the book. Suffice it to say that Sisson encourages us to eat and exercise more in keeping with our ‘ancestors.’
Frankly, his picture of hunter-gatherer ‘Grok’ (the fictional primeval humanoid Sisson describes) might be a little too idealistic. His relaxed waking in the morning, foraging for food or hunting, and relaxed creekside naps in the afternoon sound like good work if you can get it. I have a feeling things were more brutal.
The accuracy of how a hunter-gatherer lived aside, I appreciate the upshot from Sisson’s Grok-like optimism: The guy (Grok) just moved a lot – walking, climbing over stuff, etc. He wasn’t jogging for long periods. He actually preserved his strength (you never know when you have to high-tail it from a saber-tooth tiger).
He walked a lot, occasionally sprinted, and lifted heavy things as needed.
I like that.
Walk, push yourself on occasion, and lift heavy stuff.
Sisson’s book hit me over the head with the idea that I needed to move more. It’s as simple as that.
After reading the book, I checked the Health app on my iPhone and discovered I was averaging the number of steps typical for an American: between 3,000 and 6,000, with most work days being around 4,300.
I was sitting on my rumpus way too much.
No Marathon for me. My Goal – Get More Movement Into My Life!
As with my suggestions around creating your own eating plan, I also encourage you to check with a health professional regarding any exercise plan. My hunch is that most of you aren’t suffering from health issues, but if you are, you know that you need to run anything you decide to do through the filter of your body’s situation.
With that disclaimer aside, here are 8 brilliant ideas to help you get more movement into your life.
This is for beginners, so you daily runners and whatnot, feel free to move along.
- Focus on Steps: Start simple. And don’t let equipment be a barrier. If you have a smart phone, you have a step application. Keep your phone on you at all time and start measuring your steps. Get a baseline (if you don’t already have it). And set a goal to hit 500-1000 more steps a day for the next month. Increase it until you get to 10,000 steps a day. If you don’t have a smart phone or are a female who doesn’t always wear pockets, you can find a reliable step counter for under $30 on Amazon. If you stick with your phone, I recommend the Stepz app for iPhone. It’s simple an easy.
- Use Your Kids as an Excuse: Really, we should do this anyway. Instead of just taking your children to the park and letting them play while you scroll through your Facebook feed, get out there and play with them. Climb, run, bring your bike, kick a soccer ball around. Get to know muscles you forgot you had. Added bonus? Your kids will absolutely love it. Like they will be ridiculously excited that you’re playing with them.
- Reconnect with a Sport: Whether it’s golf or tennis, start playing again. If you have no physical or financial reasons not to, start today. Call a friend, schedule a court, and go hit the ball around. Have fun. If your thing was more like basketball, baseball, or football and you’re not in a position to actually play the sport, sign up to coach a youth league. Coaches are up and moving and getting involved. When we start helping others, we tend to get inspiration to better ourselves, too.
- Explore the Nature Your Community Has to Offer (picture here of us walking the Greenway): You do not need to drive an hour or three to the mountains to go hiking. Most suburban or urban areas have greenways, foot and bike paths, and other opportunities to get outside and explore. Start with your neighborhood. Go outside tomorrow morning about 15 minutes early and take a walk (don’t forget to carry your phone to count the steps).
- Phone a Friend: Some of you thrive on accountability relationships. Find someone who you’ve kicked around this idea of getting into shape with and encourage each other to do something.
- Try an Online Program like Couch to 5K: There are plenty of programs out there. If hitting a goal like a 5K or a triathlon or even a marathon is something near and dear to your heart, start small and go for it. Following a plan helps you to be intentional about getting more movement into your life.
- Take Advantage of Resources Available to You: Just as most of us have trails and nature paths in our communities, many of us have options office gyms or some other equipment or memberships that we renew every month but don’t take advantage of. Start fitting those things into your life. Don’t kill yourself. Start small and build.
- Start Small: I’ve mentioned this a few times before, but the biggest thing that hampers our self-improvement – in all areas – is this feeling like we have to go from 0 – 60 in 2.3 seconds. You simply don’t. If a 5 minute walk is where you need to start, then take the 5 minute walk every day this week and then bump it up to 6 minutes or 10 minutes. There’s a rush to start, but there’s not a rush to hit some arbitrary 30 minute mark at a 12 minute pace the first time out.
Don’t let weird, phantom expectations stop you from taking first steps. Start small and build. That’s a sustainable approach.
These are meant to be helpful guidelines to encourage you to get more movement into your world.
Pick something and do it today. It’s not difficult to etch out 10 minutes. Most of us sneak off for 10 minutes every once in a while anyway – just sneak off and walk somewhere and instead of sitting on a stairwell texting your buddies.
While I encourage you to investigate the Whole 30 eating plan – the one I’ve been attempting to follow, try Sisson’s book if you want a deeper dive into paleo nutritional principles. Or check his website at www.marksdailyapple.com.