Thanks to Fabiano for sharing his thoughts this week on his health and wellbeing journey over many years and what it has meant to him. Please leave your comments in the section below!
Which activity is right for you? How do you stick to it?
Swimming, rock climbing, weight lifting, hapkido, crossfit, ninjutsu, running, cycling, football... I could go on and on citing sports I once tried, enjoyed for a while and later stopped practicing (or should I say quit, gave up?!?). What about all the equipment, clothing, shoes and gadgets bought for each sport that are now gathering dust?!? Why can't I (we) stick to the sport and keep doing it? Too busy at work, the weather doesn't help, tiredness? Excuses and more excuses!!
I should first introduce myself, I'm Fabiano, 35, born in Brazil and an office worker managing IT teams and projects for a living. I consider myself an outdoors, active and sporty person. But I'm just a regular guy, not even close to 'showing-off strong muscles' or 6-pack abs (just 6-pack of beers in the fridge). Fortunately I manage my work-life balance pretty well, and interestingly enough, I'm writing this article while on a plane from Dublin to sunny Faro for a very active tennis holiday organised by members of the club that I'm a part of.
You've probably noticed I haven't mentioned tennis in the list. That's not a sport that I've quit (and hopefully won't!). It's quite the opposite. I've been enjoying tennis for over 2 years now, exercising, having fun and getting around to chat with friends that keep me empowered and challenged during matches and leagues.
For the past few months, I've also started running with my wife through the streets of Dublin. It can happen at any time; mornings, evenings after work, late night, weekends, literally anytime that one of us feels like running; and that usually pushes the other to go too.
Pilates is another one on my list of current activities. I managed to find a good studio with reformers and great people that are helping and looking at each movement I make. Challenging your body, in a very sustainable way, on each exercise. Bringing a feeling of relaxation and freedom at the end of each session.
What do all those sports have in common? Maybe there isn't much in common if you compare the activities themselves, but you can clearly see that in all of them I had people around that made me enjoy the moment of being there. Somehow empowering and challenging me, pushing away that feeling of doing an activity just for the sake of doing it to get fit and healthy. Forcing ourselves? This is sick! We don't need this!
Here is an example of an 'activity sickness moment' I had been through. Since I moved to Ireland I was struggling to find an activity I enjoyed and kept me going. I then heard about Crossfit. On first impression I thought it sounded like nonsense, but I liked the group workout style where everyone would be doing the same thing while supporting each other through each exercise completion. Bingo, I was sold! I then went for a 1 hour trial session. I've never been so exhausted after exercising; I was literally about to puke. The instructor saw it, and nicely pushed with his foot an empty bucket to the side of the stool I was resting on. That was when I realised that the bucket was there exactly for that reason, and I wasn't the only or first one! I found Crossfit extremely challenging; different from anything that I've done before. It left me wanting to try more. That was the beginning. I decided to join the team as a way of trying something else and be part of a group with the same interest and objective. It was great while it lasted. During 9 months at Crossfit I found lots of body and mental limitations, but I couldn't keep pushing my body to that extreme anymore; I then decided to quit Crossfit.
Ok, this is the 'To conclude...' section. Going back to the question at the title of this article, I'd be pretentious to say what one should/should not do. I can only speak for myself. Since I approached my mid-30s, I started realising that I need to stick to activities I enjoy with friends and that make me happy. Activities that will not only keep me challenged and healthy, but also allowing me to manage and practice it for the rest of my life (or at least for a good few decades to come :)
The answer to the question is in your hands. You can definitely arrange time for exercising. You can try many sports until you find the one you love and enjoy. Do it for yourself and not for others, it will make things much easier and in no time, without realising it, you'll be locked into an activity that you love and may do for life!