Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by
And that has made all the difference.Robert Frost
The Road Not Taken
There are many ways to get fit.
Many of these ways are not attractive—at least not to me. Long, boring cardio, burpees till you puke… You get the idea.
There are new, trendy, fitness routines coming out all the time. Some are good, and some are outright ridiculous.
One can be led to believe that if they’re not doing the latest craze, they’ll be left in the dust.
This turns off many who would otherwise find their road to fitness: “If I need to go through all of this to attain health, count me out!”
Fitness choices include: weightlifting (bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, powerlifting), bodyweight training (progressive calisthenics), kettlebells, bands, awkward object lifting, long “steady-state” cardio, high-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.), yoga, Pilates, barre, Zumba, and so many more.
Though I enjoy some of these disciplines, many people do not. And fortunately, that’s okay. There are many roads to fitness, including less regimented ones than those listed above.
Activity of almost any kind—particularly in the great outdoors—is beneficial, as long as isn’t a serious injury risk. There’s walking, hiking, cycling, climbing, yard work, gardening, playing with kids, participating in a sport, and so on.
The activity may not be anything with a fancy name and logo, but if it gets your body moving in a logical fashion, you’re good to go. The key is to get the key systems of the body working: cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous system for starters.
A few additional points to remember:
#1: Strength work in some capacity becomes very important as we age.
#2: The activity can be as regimented or non-regimented as you like. As long as it’s practiced with some regularity.
#3: Something is almost always better than nothing.
But in my opinion, the real key to making it all work is to do something you really enjoy. That changes everything. Then you’ll be willing to get up early in the morning, or go out in the cold, and stick to the activity once you hit a bump in the road (and that always happens) long enough to produce results.
Putting It All Together, i.e., “The Do’s”
#1: Do something you enjoy
#2: Do something you’d be willing to do at least several times a week.
#3: Do something that allows you to get some sun and fresh air.
#4: Do something that develops the key systems of the body and important attributes, including strength and power, flexibility, balance, and endurance.
If your activity of choice does not cover all the bases, consider a second key activity to fill in the gaps. For instance, activities that work the cardiovascular system and lower body, such as walking or hiking, can be paired with yoga or weight training to build strength and flexibility.
Following this plan will not only keep you physically healthy and fit, it will also help keep you emotionally healthy too, as the value of following a good physical fitness program has benefits far beyond the physical.
There are indeed many paths to fitness, but the best path of all is the one that best fits you.
Patrick Rooney is the Founder of OldSchoolUs.com. Its focus is natural health and independent living. Patrick is the author of GREEK PHYSIQUE: The Simple, Satisfying Way to Sculpt Your Body—Even if You’re Old, Weak, or Broken Down; and is also the creator of Greek Yoga™ and the Greek Yoga for Beginners video. He offers health and fitness coaching in-person in Middle Tennessee and worldwide via phone, Zoom, and Skype. To reach Patrick, email him at[email protected].