Fitness equipment is a relatively new invention in the word of exercising, in fact, exercising is a relatively new invention. Our life was comprised of constant, activity and movement, making the need to go to a permanent location for planned movement a hilarious non-starter. Fortunately, or not, depending who you ask we no longer spend the majority of our existence foraging, farming, hauling lumber or performing some other physically demanding task. Now we fitness!
We don’t want to give the wrong impression, we love the culture, it has provided us with a life of movement and interaction as guides for those interested in a fitness journey, but we do think it’s important to remember that health does not require the strict guidelines we have imposed on our training. It doesn’t take long before the routine below becomes a slow march back to the couch and inactivity.
- 30 minutes Cardio
- 30 minutes Free Weights
- 10 minutes Core
Today’s article focuses on breaking out of that old and offering 3 different styles of training to start incorporating into your routine. Each provides a slightly different stimulus and opportunity to become fit in a new way.
Bodyweight Training / Gymnastic Movements
We are not suggesting you head out to your backyard trampoline and attempt your best Rosie Maclennon – impersonation but getting back in touch with your body and the wonderful ways that it can move is amazing. Laying on a bench press, or standing in a squat rack is great but it’s stationary so switch it up and start to train with your own bodyweight as resistance. Push-ups, squats, lunges, crawl, pull-ups, these are all amazing movements that require little to no equipment. Do them for a set time, or a number of reps, slow the reps down, hold the positions, speed them up. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter. You are experimenting and exploring the way your body can move, we bet you’ll be shocked at how hard it is to recreate your childhood fluidity after a lifetime of desk dwelling and that is exactly why you should do it.
Take a Hike
It seems like a bit of a cop-out to add this to the list but we believe it warrants mentioning, plus you get the secondary benefit of a little Vitamin N – Nature. Hiking is an amazing workout and we suggest loading up a backpack with some weight and heading out to a local trail. It costs zero dollars, it builds lower body strength, cardiovascular health, and general fitness. Add in a quality pair of minimalist shoes and you will develop amazing foot strength and proprioception. As with everything, start small and progress to larger climbs, vary the length, pace, and elevation. Not every workout needs to be a 10 / 10, sometimes it’s good to go slow.
The University of Harvard conducted a lifetime study looking at the health of individuals over the decades, it was in an attempt to determine who was the “fittest”. Interestingly, pro athletes didn’t top the charts, the winner? Gardeners and Farmers. The perpetual motion with moderate loads was the best tool for developing long-term health, a quasi-return to our ancestral ways. For that reason, farm days are our last suggestion for improving your fitness. We realize that not everyone can actually head to a farm for a day of manual labor but you can mimic the movements in your own workouts. Pick up awkward shapes, move them around in different ways, push and drag things around. We love using sleds, tires or kettle-bells for our ‘farm day’ workouts but a couple of rocks and a log in a park works just as well. If you are looking for some other suggestions check out Dan (The Godfather of Strength Training) John’s work.