Listen to your body for a lifetime of fitness

Fitness is about so much more than quick fixes and short term goals. Let’s explore the holy grail of health…

It sounds like a cliché, but life really is a journey. We know this from our business endeavours, our careers, and our relationships. The greatest thing we can do is keep growing and learning from our life experiences.

The same is true for health and fitness. There is never an end goal. The true joy of a fitness lifestyle comes from understanding our bodies and making progress.

Fitness isn’t a quick fix

The human body is amazing (don’t you think?) and it’s a privilege to be able to go through life focusing on getting stronger, fitter, and healthier. As a fitness coach, I’ve never liked the idea of prescriptive plans or “copy & paste” programmes. I think it’s infinitely more valuable to gain an education as you work towards your goal, so the impact lasts a lifetime.

And when you consider the length of our human lifespan, it seems crazy to embark on a crash diet or one-off fitness phase. This brings me to the point of this article…

The holy grail of a healthy lifestyle

What does “health and fitness” mean to you? For most of my clients, it goes much deeper than looking good (although that’s a valid goal). It’s about making the most of life, having a healthier old age, setting a good example.

This is the ultimate goal of any fitness lifestyle. To never be “on” or “off” plan, because there is no plan. There’s just a deeply embedded set of habits and routines that are integral to your daily life. Doesn’t that sound better than battling with yourself and “starting again on Monday”?

Falling in love with exercise

Exercise stops being exercise and starts being “just something you do” when you truly enjoy it. So I urge you to find forms of exercise that you love. This is where the magic happens.

Think about someone you know who appears to be effortlessly fit and sporty. They’ve been active for as long as you know them. They don’t make a song and dance about it, fitness is just part of their identity. Now think about the type of exercise they do. I bet it’s changed over the years, even if their core sport has stayed the same. They don’t get tied to fads or dogma, because they love exercise for the joy of moving their body.

That’s the point I’d love you to reach. Perhaps you feel you’re almost there. Keep going.

Exercise does not have to mean going to the gym. It can mean walking, hiking, wild swimming, bike rides, games of tennis or badminton, squash club, dance, 5-a-side, exercise classes…. the point is not to get tied to anything. The point is to move.

Your interests and abilities will change with time. Remember, we’re talking about fostering a life-long love of fitness, so that inevitably means dealing with periods of illness and recovery, stress, grief, job changes, house moves. Just keep moving throughout it all.

Different ways to achieve a goal

There are lots of ways to achieve a fitness goal, and no rules. Think about your current end-goal, then brainstorm ways to get there using favourite forms of exercise or things you’re curious to try. Mix it up, have fun, let your body be happy. That’s when fitness becomes an enjoyable and rewarding part of life.

I hope this has given you some food for thought. Over the next few weeks I’ll be expanding on this topic to talk about how to find exercise you love, and then how to programme it into your life so you can achieve your goals.

Coach Joseph Webb.

‘The number one rated Personal Trainer In Henley and Oxfordshire’

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