Functional fitness

I was a member of a gym for a period of time when I lived in a busy city and knew that the location wouldn’t inspire me to go out running.  I think another reason was that I’d never been a member of a gym.  It seemed to be the “done” thing and I didn’t want to miss out.

I was a student at the time which meant that I could choose to attend the gym at almost any time that I wanted and I didn’t have to squeeze my visits in at the same time as everyone else – before work or after work.

My preferred time was around 2pm.  In the post lunch slump, when otherwise I would have struggled to concentrate on my studies and the temptation of an afternoon nap (a short power nap, of course) would probably have been too much for me.

I enjoyed going to the gym because it gave me something to do, but I’m not sure it particularly benefited me on a fitness front.  I jogged a bit on the treadmill, I paddled a bit on the rowing machine and I used a whole range of weights machines.  I dutifully followed my training plan that had been worked out after an introductory session.  But I don’t think it ever gave me any joy.  I made some progress and got better at adjusting the machines, but I think I struggled to see the point of it all.

It strikes me now, how unnatural it all is.  Whenever I see the rows of cardio-machines through a window, I wonder what someone from a far away land would say.  Most probably they would ask the question: why?

I’m often struck by the places in the world where it’s hard to live; where you have to work to live: to till the fields, or travel long distances on foot, or herd animals with little creature comforts and feel that the all encompassing, closeness to nature is a good thing.  You exercise by default and you eat healthily and locally because that’s what’s there.  And that’s what we strive to do in our unnatural lifestyles.

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy running – it feels like it’s useful. If you run better you can get to places better.  I’m also trying to incorporate my exercise into my day rather than make it a special event that I need to find time for.  Currently this involves cycling between meetings at work rather than taking the bus.  Admittedly it’s not always possible and a run/cycle commute would be the best thing, but that’s a tad too far right now.

By all means, go to the gym, but make sure you enjoy it.  I’ve been watching the World’s Strongest Man competition and I love the way that they don’t just lift weights – there’s a lot of function involved: they tow trucks, they lift things and move them – it’s not all deadlifts.

So next time you’re in the gym, consider why you’re doing the exercise: will it help you in day to day life?  Can you find ways to do it as part of your day, saving time and money as you go?

Happy training!


About seallikeactivity

Breaking out of the 9 to 5 to be my own creative self and inspire others to do the same.
This entry was posted in change, Fitness, motivation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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