It’s hardly news to anybody that exercise is good for you; doctors, trainers and gym owners have been hip to this for a long time. I’m pretty sure there’s a cave wall somewhere filled with drawings of fellow cave folk “doing things.” So why is it that people young and old have a hard time getting out of their own way? Why is the rut of the sedentary everyday so much more appealing than exercise?
Maybe the answer is in the reasoning. If being fit isn’t reason enough, perhaps other reasons need to be explored. Here’s a few reasons to train that might surprise you if getting out there and “doing things” doesn’t sound like fun.
1) A better lifestyle. What is lifestyle? It’s breakfast, the pile of laundry we have to fold, the job we perform, our extra curricular activities, what we do with our family, iPad-ing, movie watching, jogging. Anything that passes as a regular day from sunup to sundown and you would call your life. For far too many, this lifestyle often excludes significant physical movement that engages our bodies in the ways it needs to be to maintain a healthy body and mind.
If you can drum up the drive and motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle without being a part of a fitness program, then you probably have little use for this message. And great for you! It’s that kind of natural enthusiasm that gives hope to those who are maybe nervous or lack the confidence to get going and make that change.
For those of you who are struggling, here’s where your new lifestyle can begin: by joining a martial arts school or gym with a healthy culture and the “enhanced” lifestyle that comes along with it. You will progress with other folks who share similar interests and values, excitement for eating healthy. You will receive enthusiasm and encouragement to keep up the positive changes in your life which come with membership. It’s never a cakewalk (poor choice of words…), so the support system when things aren’t going so good is just as important. In short, the other members WANT you to succeed. That’s a pretty good reason!
2) Your new best friend could be right around the corner. For real. It’s been an amazing 20 years of being involved in martial arts & fitness for me, and the aspect of it that I’m always grateful for is the deep and genuine friendships that I’ve cultivated through training.
I’m not sure if it’s the sweating, growing, or overcoming obstacles together that makes the friendships so sincere and long lasting, but the togetherness seems to be just as important to me now as the training is. It almost circles back to lifestyle; the people you meet end up enhancing your life for the better. It might be corny, but man, I gotta tell you, it’s true!
3) You will learn something new everyday. I can only speak for myself here but I’m sure some of you can agree; that feeling like things will never change, never get better or being stuck in a rut is not a great feeling… at all.
Early on I was told by my father and one of my best friend’s dad, that learning something new everyday was the best way to keep boredom away. It’s the kind of advice that makes you roll your eyes when you’re 7 years old, but you start to appreciate in adulthood. With the martial arts, the physical and mental training, the decision to learn is being made every time you step onto the mats. Whether it’s hitting that new yoga pose, nailing a jujitsu armlock or finding out how many pushups in a row you can do, the learning never stops.
I’ve been a karate black belt for 12 years and have learned more about punching and kicking in that time than in all the years leading up to the black belt. Learning is awesome, feels great and is mine to cherish and appreciate. And it feels way better than the rut, let me tell you!
Folks often find dozens of reasons NOT to do something when the opposite should be tried with just as much ferocity. Find reasons TO do something new; it could be the best decision you ever make!
Jon Boone is the head instructor and owner at JitsuFit, a Jiu Jitsu, Karate and Mixed Martial Arts school in Pasadena, CA.