We are a creature that is made to move. I am not the first to say this nor am I the first to lament the sedentary nature of most of the country’s population but have you ever noticed how great it feels to just go take a walk? This is not simply your body reacting. Moving is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body AND your mind. Naturally it is best to move with good posture and within our current physical parameters, but move me must and we must do it for all of our time on this planet.
My parents took this idea to a rather extreme point by undertaking the Camino de Santiago de Campostela. If you’re unaware this is a 500 mile walk from southern France across northern Spain to the cathedral of Santiago de Campostela in the town of Galicia where the remains of St. James are kept. It has been a religious undertaking since the 9th Century and these days still attracts thousands of people every year. These days not everyone does the Camino for the original purposes of religious pilgrimage. Some want an adventure. Others want some time for introspection (the full route takes over a month to complete). But whatever your reason, there’s only one way to do it: on foot.
This was a big undertaking for my parents and they had to train a lot in preparation. For almost a year in advance, they walked 8-12 miles per DAY and some days longer…at 79 years of age! Their preparation proved wise as they did very well on the Camino, but the year of prep was also great in and of itself. The benefits they feel from the daily movement has built a habit. Although it’s been months since they completed the Camino they still walk miles every day!
The long and short of this post is humans need to move. Please find something you enjoy whether it’s walking, hiking, rock climbing, whatever…just get out there and do it. You will be amazed at how great you feel!
I am the kind of person who enjoys a lot of interests. I train and teach martial arts. I train and teach strength and conditioning. I love to cook. I am into traditional archery and hit the woods during hunting season with a longbow. (As if hunting with a compound bow isn’t difficult enough…but that’s another story.) And that’s not counting the pastimes I’ve retired: guitar and pottery to name just two. My point is I enjoy a lot of different things and while this is healthy for the mind and a key to happiness, doing many things is detrimental to training. Physical training requires a focus. Without it, results will suffer. As Pavel says so succinctly, “Random training will produce random results.”
But coming up with a specific goal can be a challenge too! Personally, I would love to PR my kettlebell press and barbell deadlift and front squat every month as well as max out on my high volume kettlebell snatches. But I think we can all agree that just ain’t gonna happen. Something has to give in order to get. Right now for me I’m giving up my dead lift, front squat and KB press so I can focus on the bench press. I will admit, I hate to bench, but it is a requirement for me to finish the StrongFirst Lifter certification so I am on it 3x/week. To say I can’t wait to send in my test video is a massive understatement! But my point should not be lost in the humor. Simply put, I am focusing on what I need to accomplish. There’s really no other way.
Doing a bit of everything might be fun but it’s not training. Find what you want to accomplish and then hold yourself accountable.
Here’s to a stronger 2019!
January is as full of New Year’s resolutions as February is with folks who’ve already broken them, but please don’t let that stop you from making one! The new year is the perfect time to assess what you accomplished last year and plan your goals for this year. So what are your goals? Well if you’re not sure, here are some suggestions:
- Eat better. What exactly does that mean? For most of us it means eat better quality, less processed food, and eat less of it. Barring some medical aberration, most of us benefit greatly from lowering our sugar and grain intake. You don’t have to go full on Paleo, but cutting back on these two things will go a long way toward making you feel and LOOK better!
- Do something physical. ANYTHING! My parents are 80 years old and they just completed the Camino de Santiago de Campostela. If you’re unfamiliar, this is a 500 mile walk across northern Spain. Check out the film, “The Way” by Emilio Estevez (or my folks’ blog frankandettieonthecamino.com) to get a sense of this beautiful landscape. My folks are retired so they have plenty of time on their hands to travel for a number of weeks and do an epic adventure like this but my point is that even at 80 they are very active. The physical and mental benefits of consistent activity are countless. So find something you like doing, and DO IT a few times per week!
- Keep in touch with loved ones. Time flies when you’re in your working years and before you know it, our loved ones are diminishing in number. Do yourself a favor and link up with some aunts or cousins you enjoy but haven’t been in touch with for a while. You will both enjoy it!
I think you’ll agree all of these suggestions are ones anyone can take up at a moment’s notice. There’s this lovely thing called the internet that allows you to research anything… Use it and get going!
If you’re curious, one of my resolutions is to write this blog regularly…
Happy New Year! Here’s to a spectacular 2019!!