In a world of pills and procedures, lasers and lipo, it's not hard to believe fitness is something to be bought or a service to be sold.
However, it is much easier than that to be fit. For those of us who are able-bodied, it's the little things that add up. Cut the junk. When you work out, actually work. Push yourself. You've invested the time, now invest the energy. When you're sitting at work, flex your buttocks or flex your calves. You'll feel good in the chair. Get up once and hour and touch your toes. Move in such a way that you engage your whole body. When you walk, walk with your core. Be on the balls of your feet, ready for action.
There is this laziness and inertia in our society. It tells us that you can win without putting effort into anything. How much can I get for the least amount of work? That attitude makes your body and your soul atrophy. It promotes bad posture and neurosis. According to researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, in the past three decades, people's self-reported stress levels have increased 10 to 30 percent. Why is it, in an age where we have more conveniences than ever before, where we live better than kings did a mere 500 years ago, that we're stifled in fat, frustration and madness?
It seems to me that we as individuals need to make the conscious decision to live fully and presently and then to establish realistic rules to live by. For instance, if I stop my workout regime, I won't be as strong or as fit. Or if I eat this whole bucket of chicken, then I will feel as if I'm struggling to breathe for the next four hours.
Now, some of us don't care about food. Maybe your bucket of chicken is a bottle of gin. The same rules apply. You have to be conscious of your actions and aware of the consequences. For example, researchers at the University of Liverpool recently put together information from 24 different studies about eating while watching television. They concluded that the amount of food they ate went up by as much as 25 percent. Being mindful of what you're eating is the best way to limit your consumption.
You want to get fit? There are so many ways to get moving, from low-impact programs such as water aerobics to adrenaline-pumping high jinks such as jumping off the top of Troll Wall in Norway in a wing suit. Start small. Local fitness centers offer low-cost classes that could help you build up the endurance for more vigorous activities.
Whatever you do, whoever you are, you are predisposed to certain types of activity. Nurture yours. Get together with a friend and hold each other accountable to get to the gym or a yoga class. Hit the beach. Go surfing. You'll lose pounds, gain control of balance and lose fear. Which avenue of fitness you choose doesn't matter. The most important thing is to choose to do it. Activate your core, ignite your passions, employ your discipline. Being in the world is a great privilege. So get involved!