What would you do if you knew you were going to have to outrun a vicious dog on the way home from work tomorrow? Could you sprint away or climb a tree to get a way from it? Now what if you also had to carry your grandmother on your back as you ran away?
The other day, I was at the gym practicing handstands. It was the 87th time that I had attempted to do a free standing handstand after my workout, and I was excited to hold the stance in the air for the three seconds that I did. As I tumbled down, a gym regular asked me why I wanted to learn to handstand in the first place.
I just responded “why not?” but it really got me thinking, why do I want to do a handstand so bad? Sure it makes a great party trick, but I’m too old to join the circus and no one is going to offer me a fitness training job solely based on my handstanding ability. For me, I think it’s because I love knowing that I have conditioned my body to do things it couldn’t do before. I like knowing that my core muscles are strong, that my shoulders are getting stronger, and that I can build trust in my body not to let me down. The same goes for why I want to squat and deadlift 315lbs, and why I am pushing myself to do unassisted chin ups and pull ups… I am motivated by being a stronger version of myself. I like to know that I can take care of myself, that I can carry my grandmother as I run from a pissed off stray dog or that I can possibly save myself from ailments and disease if I work on being physically strong.
Of course, not everyone is motivated by the same things. Many can’t imagine a dog running after them, or ever being in a situation where their life is in danger and the only way to save themselves is to jump, kick or pull themselves up. Many also think that diseases won’t actually happen to them, assuming that tragedy only strikes others. Unfortunately, I bet you know at least one person hit by ailments like high blood pressure, knee and joint pain, diabetes, gout or hormonal imbalances and so on… all easily controllable or even preventable with diet and exercise.
For many, the physical aesthetic positives are simply not enough incentive and if being strong doesn’t motivate you, what about just being able to simply keep up with your kids? What about going up a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath? What about living a long life without aches and pains?
Whatever your motivation, just pick one that makes sense to you and run with it. The truth of the matter is that as human beings, we are designed to move, jump, sprint and hang, not to sit for 8 hours a day at a desk, only to sit in traffic for another hour a day, then eat dinner and sit in front of the computer or TV for another 4hours till sleep time. When you make exercise as mandatory to your life as brushing your teeth, you will simply realize it is what you have to do to survive, and it has to become habit. In this day and age, we are lucky to not have to worry about bombs and war on a daily basis, but instead we are being bombed by fast food ads and temptation, 8 hour Netflix marathons on the couch and copious amounts of treats and cocktails everywhere we turn. You must make it a habit to exercise to survive all of these unhealthy landmines in every corner.
Make it a habit to run around with your kids, to do 10 rocket jumps as your brush your teeth, make it a habit to take the stairs up a flight, and most important of all, make it a habit to do everything in your power to be your own motivation. Put yourself first and survive this crazy world we live in, healthy and strong.
To living Positively Strong,