8 Reasons You Need to Rediscover Your Passion for Exercise

by A Manly Guest Contributor on February 22, 2010 · 61 comments

in Health & Sports

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness.

I need you to think way back and remember the awesomeness that was grade school dodgeball – running around sweating like a pig for an hour every day and loving every minute of it. It was survival of the fittest and the fastest; all kinds of life lessons could be learned in an afternoon of dodging and hurling that red ball. Fast forward 20 years: You’re sitting behind a desk selling data-processing software and suddenly an hour of exercise a day seems a ridiculous thought.

It’s about time you go back to being a kid.

Rediscovering a passion for exercise goes far beyond just elevating your heart rate and shedding a few unwanted pounds. If you really want to be the best husband to your wife, best father to your sons and daughters, and ultimately the best man you can be, it’s time to make your physical well-being one of your top priorities.

Let me tell you why.

Momentum

Are you aware that Teddy Roosevelt, one of the greatest men to have lived, was quite the sickly, asthmatic child growing up? As explained in “Lessons in Manliness from Theodore Roosevelt,” his father was aware of Teddy’s conditions but was determined to not let his son languish in these frailties. He pulled his boy aside and told him, “Theodore you have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. I am giving you the tools, but it is up to you to make your body.”

His father’s advice became a blueprint for Teddy’s life – he went on to live every day with conviction and vigor, constantly pushing his body and mind to the limit. As he pushed his body further, he felt more comfortable pushing his mind further as well. Think about it, after fighting lions and climbing mountains, you think running for President scared him?

If you are interested in improving your life and career, never underestimate the power of momentum. By pushing your body to its limits on a daily basis, your body and mind can learn how to handle increasingly stressful situations, making you more comfortable venturing outside your comfort zone. People who refuse to step outside this “safe place” may wallow in mediocrity; it’s those who constantly challenge themselves and take risks who are likely to go on to do great things.

Safety

Two men were walking in a forest, when they suddenly saw a savage, hungry-looking bear. One of the men quickly put on a pair of running shoes. The other guy exclaimed, “You idiot! You can’t run faster than a bear.” To which the first guy replied, “I don’t have to run faster than the bear, I only have to run faster than you!”

In today’s society, almost all confrontations are settled with mediation, compromise and lawyers instead of duels, arm wrestling matches and good old-fashioned brawls. Survival of the fittest has been replaced by survival of the wealthiest, smoothest or smartest. That being said, you still never know when you’re going to run into a freaking bear in the woods or a burglar in your house.

This necessity for safety goes beyond just bears, burglars, and bar fights, too. Wouldn’t you sleep better knowing you could carry both your children out of your house should it catch on fire? If you fall out of a canoe, wouldn’t you panic less if you knew you were a strong swimmer? Walking through a tough part of town, wouldn’t you worry less about getting mugged if you knew you had the strength to defend yourself?

Every man should be able to save his own life and protect his children and spouse. By keeping yourself at a high level of physical fitness, your chances of both avoiding a dangerous situation and surviving one are much higher.

Wealth

When people think of the cost of getting into shape, they usually factor in a gym membership, fitness equipment, clothing and maybe the time spent not watching Jersey Shore on MTV. More often than not, this dollar amount is way higher than what they’re willing to pay (zero), so they remain couch potatoes. I mean, who would spend money to go through an uncomfortable gym workout when they can spend absolutely nada and live however the hell they want?

Fail.

It’s time to think back to your college econ class. Yeah, the one you skipped on Tuesdays and Thursdays because you were too hung over from Dollar Draft Night. That class.

Do you know how much a coronary artery bypass costs? $99,743. What’s the current cost of your diabetes medication for the year? How many days of work did you miss last year from sickness or because you had to go to the doctor? Sure, you can’t say with 100% certainty that your chub will lead to surgery or meds. Just like you might be able to smoke your whole life and not get cancer. But only fools would place their money on those kind of odds.

When determining the cost of being healthy versus the cost of being unhealthy, you should start calculating the future projected tab of your couch potato life. When factoring in these eventual medical bills, missed days of work, and expensive medications (not to mention the emotional and social costs), the $50 gym membership becomes a huge bargain.

An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but a good diet and 30 minutes of intense, fun exercise just might. Even if you don’t feel like going to a gym, strap on some shoes (or go barefoot if you’re feeling extra manly) and go for a run, do some push-ups every other day, and keep yourself off the operating table. It’s not nearly as fun a place as it seems when you’re playing Operation!

Confidence

Earlier I discussed how Teddy Roosevelt pushed his body on a daily basis so he could tackle increasingly stressful situations. In my opinion, when it comes to complex and stressful challenges, there’s nothing more terrifying than trying to navigate the incredibly complex world of love and attraction.

I had a conversation with a good friend recently who was describing what his life was like before he lost 100 pounds. Other than the usual disadvantages of being overweight, he told me something I’ll never forget: “When you’re overweight, you’re invisible to almost everybody. Nobody will look at you, nobody will talk to you. It’s awful.”

If you’re single, I’m guessing at some point in your life you hope to find “that special someone” and eventually settle down. This is exceptionally difficult if that special someone won’t even look in your direction.

Remember that thing called momentum I talked about earlier? As you begin to exercise, you start to feel better about yourself. The more people notice you, the more you want to exercise and the better you feel. If you’re overweight, you’ll understand the “confidence” thing once you start hearing, “Hey did you lose weight? You look great!”

Now, if you’re already in a healthy and loving relationship, don’t think you’re off the hook. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean your spouse actually enjoys your growing beer belly! Make it known that you respect your relationship by staying in the best shape of your life. You’ll feel better, your neighbors’ wives will be jealous, and your wife won’t be able to keep her hands off you. Everybody wins…except for your kids, who will start to wonder why they have to spend every night at Grandma’s house down the street.

Success

Remember when your mom told you growing up, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts?” Unfortunately, she was just lying to make you feel better. Good-looking people are more successful in life than ugly people. It’s science. Whether you have a job, are looking for a new job, or just got fired from your old job, being in shape can have a tremendous impact on your success in the work force.

Let’s compare two candidates for a potential job. Candidates A and B both graduated from Harvard, are wearing identical suits and are considered an excellent choice for the position. Candidate A is 250 pounds overweight, breathes heavily, and slouches his shoulders, while Candidate B is in great shape and carries himself with a tremendous level of confidence.

Candidate B will get the job 100 times out of 100, unless he forgets to wear deodorant or tries to hit on the employer’s secretary.

Studies by economics professor Dr. Daniel Hamermesh have shown that attractive teachers get better evaluations from their students, and attractive people get better jobs and earn more money than their less attractive peers. They even get more attention from their doctors. This is based on the “Halo Effect” in which people assume that one good quality (attractiveness) means the person has other good qualities as well. And even though women often complain about being judged on their looks, the effect is actually more pronounced with men; ugly women earn 5% less than attractive women while ugly men earn 10% less than attractive men. And while a woman’s looks only effect her salary, a man’s attractiveness gets him more job offers and better raises as well.

While there’s not a ton you can do short of plastic surgery to change your ugly mug, your body is one thing you can control and  can add greatly to your attractiveness. A potential employer who sees that you’re disciplined with your body will subconsciously think you’ll be disciplined at your job too.

For those of you who already have steady jobs (which is no longer a given with this economy), exercise can be incredibly beneficial for an entirely different reason: You will have more energy, more focus, require less sleep, and spend fewer days out sick. Less downtime and less laziness leads to increased productivity. More productivity equals more money for the company, more commission for you and eventually a more lucrative position at your company. Jackpot.

Intelligence

Plato once wrote: “In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.”

Although hundreds of technological advancements (automobiles, supermarkets, the Internet and pizza delivery) have changed our lives, our genetics haven’t changed (much) since the days of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Simply put, we function best when we’re doing what we’re designed for: using our brains and our bodies in unison. Plato knew it, and now we finally have proof.

Recent studies have shown that aerobic exercise increases brain cell capacity in certain areas by as much as 30 percent following exercise. Naperville Central High School in Illinois required all students to participate in mandatory gym class every single morning for a test program. Not surprisingly, this particular school absolutely destroyed every other school in the area when it came to standardized testing.

Why does this work? When you exercise, your brain cells wake up and become more receptive to outside stimuli. These cells have tiny receptors that activate in greater concentration and with greater efficiency after exercise, which means you are far more likely to retain information learned after exercise than without exercise. For more information on how positively the brain is affected by exercise, check out the book Spark by Dr. John Ratey.

Mental Health

One of the most important aspects of being a great man is to be sound both of body and mind. A great man can protect his family and friends, but also handle stressful situations with the grace of a well-mannered gentleman. If you’re a man who deals with depression, anxiety or highly stressful situations, exercise might just be the medicine you need.

Studies have shown that exercise can mitigate both depression and anxiety. “It looks more and more like the positive stress of exercise prepares cells and structures and pathways within the brain so that they’re more equipped to handle stress in other forms,” say Michael Hopkins, who has been studying this phenomena at Dartmouth. These battle-tested brain cells don’t succumb to stress and make for a calmer brain.

And other studies have shown that exercise is as effective as anti-depressants in lifting clinical depression (of course, recent studies have also concluded that even placebos are as effective as anti-depressants, too.) Exercise is also more effective than anti-depressants in preventing relapses into depression. There’s a reason people who run marathons always talk about a “runner’s high” – running and other intense exercise releases endorphins into your brain, which is basically like natural morphine. Very nice.

As detailed in the previously mentioned Spark, exercise has also been proven to improve your chances of avoiding horribly debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s and other disorders characterized by dementia. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion being depressed or stressed sucks. If given the option of pumping my body full of pills and throwing off my body’s natural balance, or just running a few miles every day (which will give me all sorts of other benefits), I’m going with the running.

Longevity

Last but not least, we come to the mother (father?) of all reasons why exercising is so crucial to your manliness: life.

Despite all our technical advancements and medical breakthroughs in the past century, 67 percent of United States citizens are overweight and half of those people are considered obese. Unfortunately, it seems like things are only getting worse.

It’s tough being the best man and best father you can be when you’re under six feet of dirt.

It’s time to start thinking of exercise as a 401k for your body. By putting in a little bit of effort now, you can protect yourself against going physically (and mentally) bankrupt when you get old. If you’re already an older man, it’s never too late to get started and turn your life around. Make small daily investments into your health, and you’ll be a wealthy man in more ways than one for years to come.

Who’s With Me?

If you couldn’t tell, I think exercise, success and manliness are all dependent upon one another. As you make exercise and healthy living a bigger part of your daily regimen, you’ll find that so many other aspects of your life will suddenly start to improve as well. Find something that keeps you moving and makes you happy, and find a way to do it every day. Your heart, body, and mind will thank you.

Now who wants to play some dodge ball?

-Steve

When he’s not trying to be a better man, Steve spends his time running a fitness website for the average Joe over at NerdFitness.com. You can sign up for the Nerd Fitness RSS feed or receive blog updates via email.

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Saad February 22, 2010 at 10:48 pm

So true

Ive always been slightly overweight, but have often been able to mask it and people are shocked when they learn my real weight. Ive always been into sport, playign rugby, cricket, martial arts and cycling, but still havent been able to lose the excess fat.

Just recently starting hitting the gym, eatting healthy (stopped eating chips and drinking Coke, my biggest weakness) and already feel better and stronger. Lifting weights really does feel great, and that last rep to exhaustion is soo satisfying. Got my skinny friend as a gym buddy who is trying to bulk up, and we have a great time at the gym, and are exhausted and in pain the next day but feel great.

Just do it, start workig out, get into a routine and youll never look back. My GF already has noticed my nicer arms and shoulders, and every gym session is a chance to push myself more.

2 Alex Laudino February 22, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Steve,

I strongly agree with you. I just started to work out last Monday and have already found an increase in energy. At times I am almost looking to do more physical activity and keep going. As they say ‘an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.’

Alex

3 Michael February 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Absolutely, Steve! We need all the encouragement we can get to exercise and eat healthy – an ongoing, planned commitment seems to be the hardest part for most people. (I’m already noticing the big January crowds at the gym starting to dwindle.)

You might add Enjoyment to the list – if a guy can find a workout he likes and wants to do, it’s not just exercise, it can be a short escape from daily life.

4 Nate @ Practical Manliness February 23, 2010 at 12:06 am

I particularly agree with your point about the educational benefits derived from exercise.

I used to run a college-help blog, and I learned that exercise helps people intellectually both in the short-term (by clearing and stimulating the mind) and in the long-term (by keeping the mind and body healthy).

Thanks again for the great post!

5 Nokware Knight February 23, 2010 at 12:21 am

Here, here! Especially longevity, mental health, confidence.

6 Michael Faulkner February 23, 2010 at 1:02 am

I bought an Iron Gym last night and this is just what I needed to start off a simple exercise routine with it.

Very inspiring article!

7 Rob Ulshafer February 23, 2010 at 1:05 am

Just Do It!!! Get off your lazy arses and do something, anything! I set a goal for myself to be able to join the military and pass the PF test with flying colors and be able to join the U.S. Navy SEALs. I started in September, I weighed 300 lbs. No joke guys, the most I have ever weighed, I did carry it well though. Big barrel chests and large broad shoulders run in my family. But, I needed a change, so I signed up for the gym, I drink nothing but water now, I try to eat healthy and I usually stick to it but I do have some cheat days. So since September, I have lost over 25 lbs, AND tacked on some definite muscle weight. I can tell a difference in my arms, shoulders, back, chest, stomach and legs. I still have a LOOOOONG way to go before I am SEALs fit, but I have the mental fortitude to do it, and I will. So an inspiring message to everyone out there; it will suck, you will be infinitely sore, you will miss out on some things, you will wonder why you aren’t seeing more progress, you will lose track, you will get discouraged, but if you stick with it, the payoff is well worth it.

8 Sean February 23, 2010 at 1:20 am

Awesome article guys!

This should awaken the man inside all of us who strives to be strong inside and out.

9 Rahul February 23, 2010 at 1:51 am

Steve,
Wonderful article. I wish more people would understand that exercising regularly isn’t just a dumb activity done by meatheads. It helps control stress, it gives you a huge boost in energy, makes you feel fresh, happy and confident and actually pushes you to achieve in other areas of life. I exercise early in the morning and I am literally singing Hindi film songs when I get into the office. The boost (a feeling of happiness, energy and vitality) I get pushes me through the day or at least till lunch :-)))….

These aspects need to be highlighted, specially since a lot of people use job-related stress and no time for anything as an excuse to avoid exercising. It is all the more necessary in today’s society and economy. I loved the point about wealth. Never thought of it that way, but boy does it make sense.

Regards,
Rahul

10 Tyler Logan February 23, 2010 at 2:40 am

Nice post. Exercise rocks my world on so many levels – many you’ve listed here but I wouldn’t say it’s essential. You could probably do a similar job as a blob.

11 Emerson February 23, 2010 at 2:40 am

I would like to point out that you got survival of the fittest wrong. Fit in the evolutionary sense is all about your ability to survive and reproduce (survival of those who survive) sometimes this coincides with increased physical fitness, sometimes it does not. Now having the ability to hire good lawyers matters more in surviving disputes than having the ability to arm wrestle or hold onto an iron ring in a boiling cauldron of water, but all are just different forms of fitness. It’s all very Zen.

12 Kevin (strongandfit.net) February 23, 2010 at 7:34 am

Agree–a stronger body means you’ll get more out of life.

13 Jon February 23, 2010 at 7:40 am

When I first started running, to train for military service, I hated it. Now my legs complain if I DON’T get in my running times. The body says “Hey man, I wanna move. Get off your keister!”

14 Hans Hageman February 23, 2010 at 7:42 am

Good combination of reasons for moving towards fitness and away from laziness. Too often, the perfect is the enemy of the good. People don’t need a gym to get fit and they don’t need 90 minutes a day either. Strength, flexibility, agility, power, and endurance should all be addressed and can be in 1/2 hour per day.

thank you for the post.

15 Jason February 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

I’m ready for dodgeball, what gym has a dodgeball class??

16 cory david s. February 23, 2010 at 8:11 am

I agree with everything explained in this article.

I have gone through a couple phases of physical fitness, From pure endurance training to body building, and now to being overall athletic. My most recent experience with exercise has been very positive, especially since I purchased a pair of Vibram Fivefingers: http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/barefooting/index.cfm

They simulate barefoot when you’re walking, running or just standing. I use them for agility and balance training, since I have always had a problem with arches in my feet…and they help immmensely. Now, I enjoy wearing them while exercising because it is just like running around when I was a kid. They are so much fun, and I hope you get a chance to try a pair on. They’re about 90 bucks with shipping. A small price to pay for excitement and health!

17 Sean Reeder February 23, 2010 at 8:34 am

Good article, you really don’t need to join a gym, or buy the latest and greatest program from TV. Check out http://www.crossfit.com, most of the information is all free and you can do most workouts, or adapt the workout they post each day at home with minimal equipment investment. Hands down the best approach to functional fitness, especially for those of us that have little spare time as it is, I’ve seen. Oh and contrary to all the other programs you may see, with Crossfit results are typical.

Get up * Get Moving * Keep Going

18 John February 23, 2010 at 8:44 am

I completely agree with this article. Nothing cured my anxiety better than going to the gym 5 days out of the week. It also made me a happier person after I was done with all those endorphins kicking in. Funny you should mention one of my old rival highschools. They were exceptionally good at just about anything.

19 Jose February 23, 2010 at 9:05 am

Awesome article! Packed with truth.

20 Jason Chamberlain February 23, 2010 at 9:08 am

I was always the fat kid who couldn’t run, but when I was 29 I repented of gluttony and laziness. That was 7 years ago and I haven’t looked back. It’s great to be able to run 3-4 miles without thinking too much about it beyond regular stretching.

But even if you live in a place where you can’t run for a good bit of the year and you can’t afford a gym membership there are things you can do. Doing burpees the Marine Corps way (two pushups in the middle) are a great exercise, for example.

Like others have said, I’m to the point now where if I don’t get to exercise regularly my body gets restless. There are so many benefits that I cannot imagine life without it.

21 John M February 23, 2010 at 9:27 am

Fantastic article, Steve.

I had been an avid weightlifter in graduate school, but kids and life started to get in the way. After my third child was born, I had descended into lumpy middle age. As I approached my 35th birthday, I decided that I had enough of it, and made a promise to myself that I would get myself into shape by my birthday. After 4 months of extremely hard work in the gym, I had shed 20 pounds, and saw an amazing transformation in my mind, body, and spirit. In the two years since that time, I have continued to work out hard, reaching lifting stats I would never have thought possible given the genetics that I was born with. Without question I am now in better shape than I ever was, even in my youth. All of the side effects you mention are 100% true – huge increases in confidence, health, and overall well-being. It doesn’t hurt, either, that my wife REALLY appreciates the new me – that’s a big confidence booster as well :)

22 Brody February 23, 2010 at 9:57 am

Great article, started regularly exercising recently and the mental benefit equals the physical. It makes me more energized and confident in the lecture hall.

23 Dave February 23, 2010 at 10:59 am

Just on the fitness point… getting into shape doesn’t have to cost money. A regular routine of push-ups, crunches, etc. can get you into great shape.

Equipment isn’t important, dedication is.

24 Bruce February 23, 2010 at 11:24 am

This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time.

THANK YOU

25 Octane February 23, 2010 at 11:25 am

Definitely agree. Just doing stretches and adding five more push-ups to what you did yesterday nets you a marked improvement in your quality of life.

26 Rich February 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm

The way I was able to lose weight and the way I have seen work for many other guys is join a boxing gym. Great cardio, plus you learn how to fight.

27 Welby February 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Frank Herbert, author of the Dune books, once wrote: “Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.” Physical exercise, for me, is still a slog. But when I stick with it and maintain that self-disciple, I find myself more awake, more aware, more alive. Great article – thank you!

28 Ken February 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Great post. I have recently fallen off the “running” wagon after a year and half of regular running. I’m trying to get back into the routine. I needed to read this post!

29 Elliot Tedcastle February 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Good article!

Just one question: You say Plato says:

“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.”

In which book does Plato say that? In all that I have read by him, he considered the body a prison, that the only good thing for man is the pursuit of the ideal in philosophy. Is he contradicting himself, as he does over and over again in Phaedo?

30 Steve Henkel February 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Your fit nation motivation:

Start and maintain a worthwhile exercise program for six months

OR

Undergo a randomnly selected intersting (and insane) male rite of passage.

31 G.A. Menard February 23, 2010 at 2:23 pm

This was just the article I needed to read today. I started doing kettlebell workouts a little while ago, and I’ve been trying to incorporate some cardio (running .25-.5 miles on the treadmill) between reps. I’m beat after work today, but this just motivated me to get my gym shorts on. Thanks AoM!

32 John February 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm

“No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
-Socrates

33 Joe DeGiorgio February 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Been hitting a heavy bag for 30 years now.
It is the best type of exercise—intense and fun!

34 Chris R. February 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Great article, and BTW the Wii fit is an excellent tool to help you start exercising, especially if you’re not sure hwo the exercises are supposed to be done.

One nitpick, The two job candidates is a pretty lame comparison, the more fit candidate will not get picked 100 out of 100 times. I thin it is a good point that confidence is extremely important in an interview but so are many other qualities, other wise every other obese person would be unemployed!

And another tip, I’ve been running for a short period of time, ~<6mo, but have recently started running on my toes first instead of heals, that will get your heart pumping hard and fast.

35 Steve February 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Hey guys!

Steve from Nerd Fitness here, just wanted to say thanks for all the comments today. Love the debate, and you all make a bunch of great points that I’d love to address. Unfortunately (well, I guess it’s not THAT unfortunate), I’m on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean right now for my job.

Once I’m back on land this weekend I’ll get the chance to actually respond to everybody! Thanks for your understanding. The internet out here is absolutely miserable, and I only have a few minutes here and there between shifts to actually hop online.

-Steve

36 Zach February 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Def-o dug this article, and wholly agree. There are two things I do when I start to get the pangs of depression and a sense of aimlessness: I clean my room and I change my workout regimen.

After being recently laid off, I found myself in a state of paranoia, questioning a great many things. It took me until today, just before I read this article, actually, to get up off my ass and do something. The impetus? I found in the annals of some notebooks the workout I had been doing everyday three years ago while I was a sophomore in college (a personal high point in my life- good grades, all time high bodyweight (150lbs is phenomenal for a skinny guy like yours truly) and an amazing girlfriend. I had confidence coming out of every orifice back in those days, so I said to myself, “What better way to get the ball rolling again, get me back on the straight and narrow, than this workout?”

HA! I say to myself now, HAHA! I just had trouble getting my legs to work getting to the kitchen! And I thought I was in shape! But here’s the best part. Since I finished, I haven’t been able to wipe the smile off my face, haven’t had a single doubt enter my mind. Working out can snowball your life into control, the trick is simply to do it, dammit!

As Papa put it, ““The shortest answer is doing the thing.”

37 warriorpoet912 February 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Great post! One that needed to be broken down the way you have. I teach a kickboxing class and when the new year always rolls around people ask me the best thing they can do to get in shape. The most important thing is regular, consistent activity. You don’t need a gym to stay in shape and with schedules being what they are today, I usually recommend the “tv commercial break” workout. It’s super simple. During your favorite tv show (30 mins. or 1 hour), on each commercial, exercise. You can keep it simple by picking one exercise and just doing that, or a couple or however many you want, but once the commercials start, so do you, and you don’t stop until the commercials end. A good start is pushups. Over the course of 30 mins. your upper body will be on fire. Alternate lower and upper body work per commercial or alternate days. It doesn’t really matter, JUST GET MOVING! You’ll be seeing results before you know it and you’ll become motivated to put your body to work in an activity.

38 Gus February 23, 2010 at 9:34 pm

The important part of the exercise habit is to vary your activities and intensities to prevent boring. Consistant training with focus and a sense of purpose prevents burnout and failure. The older you get the smaller your group seems to get. If you are very fit as you age you often train mostly as a solo effort. To not feel “your age” and to be capable of extreme rigors is very rewarding and might save your life. Pick effective activities and remove the fluff. Train to standards, not time. Crossfit and Core Performance might be good places to find ideas. A place to do pull-ups, a jumprope, and a kettlebell can be used for most of your needs. Avoid bodybuilder routines, they do not produce alot of functional strength or athletic ability.

39 Mark February 24, 2010 at 2:46 am

About the Plato quote, I just performed a quick google and I can’t find a citation for it.
All the other sites are using it as a “motivational quote” type of thing, and I wish to know which work of his that quote comes from.
I know the author of the book “Spark” includes it, where does it come from?

40 Paul K February 24, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Speaking of Presidents who set an example I’d like to put forward Herbert Hoover. He invented the fantastically manly game of Hooverball which was routinely played on the White House Lawn before morning business.
The game is a cross between volleyball and tennis and is played with a six pound medicine ball which participants heft over the net at each other to score points.
The best place to find out more is on the Crossfit site http://www.crossfit.com and at http://www.crossfit.com/journal/library/06_03_Hoover_Ball.pdf.
Brilliant old-school stuff!

41 Michael Houle February 24, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I’m a 17 year old High School senior and I work out 5 times a week. I always feel great after a good, solid workout. Sure youth may be playing in my favor now, but I plan on continuing this well into my later stages of life. Every single one of those points are dead on accurate. As a younger kid, I was always the sacrificial fat kid of the group (you know what I’m talking about, the one kid you have to run faster than to escape). Once I started seriously working out and playing every sport with vigor, I went from a 6′ 210 pound chunk, to a solid 6′ 170 in 3 months. Now as a 6’2″ 210 senior, I feel great and am always ready for whatever life has to throw at me.

42 Ilya February 24, 2010 at 9:15 pm

100% agreement.
I was born skinny, and continued to be so for the larger portion of my life. Some people said i am lucky but when you’re 5’4″ and just can’t seem to break 100lb mark in HS, it sure does not feel like luck. In college i started working out and it was the first time i ever started putting on weight. Luckily it was the good kind.
I started feeling better and noticed that my confidence, alertness and overall sense of self satisfaction went through the roof. Whether your underweight, overweight, or right in that healthy medium, everyone should exercise. It just makes you feel better!
And as for the intelligence thing i can personally attest to it making you a little smarter. I go in the morning and as soon as i am out I am ready to hit the books. I focus better, i understand things better, and i find myself remembering things a lot more. I just with i had known all this back in HS

43 Gus February 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Michael, That is the right attitude to have. Unfortunately we all age. Working out slows that down Paul K, I would love to play Hoover Ball. Most guys think you are nuts when you suggest it..

44 Nathan Gilmer February 26, 2010 at 10:12 am

I have just started exercising pretty regularly but was still having trouble feeling motivated. This post was incredibly encouraging as I really want to be the best man I can be. Thanks!

45 Nathan Gilmer February 26, 2010 at 10:19 am

@Cory David S: I also got some fivefingers and love them! I am wearing them right now actually. It makes me feel so much lighter and more mobile. You guys should all get a pair.

46 Alex C February 27, 2010 at 6:16 am

Hey fellas,

Check out this book from 1904 on exrx.net:

http://www.exrx.net/ExInfo/History2/Exercise.html#anchor403159

It’s called “Physical Exercise and Culture and Their Bearings On Health and Strength”

I thought it fit in nicely with this site. Very interesting stuff.

47 Dustin February 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm

If you live in the Seattle area, you can play dodgeball everymonday at the Loyal heights community center from 7 to 9. costs $2!

48 Imerson February 28, 2010 at 10:51 am

The bear story got me laughing! Anyway, being fit is still important in today’s world. Aside from the health benefits, you never know when it will come in handy.

49 Core February 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Great article. *prints off and saves* If I have something solid I tend to recall things better.

As for the dodge-ball…, I’ll have to pass… I could always dodge like a champ, but when it came to hitting my targets.. well I flat out sucked. I never could throw the ball the way I wanted. And even though my hands have gotten bigger since middle school… i still don’t know if I could throw that ball right.

But the in general exercise idea sounds good.

50 Joseph April 14, 2010 at 5:34 am

I totally loved this article!

Men sana in corpore sano!

I am into personal development for years but only recently I started to make a COMPLETE personal development, including my body into this, not only my brain.

I can tell that it is MUCH better and the results are great!

51 Maruku Jarvis May 8, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Well I have to tell you that the best way to stay fit is in my opinion to either walk to work (if 3 miles or less) or ride a bicycle to work and back if more than 3 miles or less than 15. I have been commuting this way for years and have to say at 45 I am very fit for my age. I look forward to my commute, bypass traffic and enjoy the bike ride. When blizzard type weather hits, I combine walking and taking the bus, so I still get some exercise.

My whole point is exercise is so much easier if you do it daily and do something that fits into your life.

In good health.

Cheers.

52 Gloria Leonard July 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I have arthritis in my knees I can exercise some, I do see that the pain lessens some when I exercise but my knees swell I have to spend a day with ice packs & rubs. Am I suppose to go back to exercising , the thought of the pain causes me to quick.

53 Hal July 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Gloria- try water aerobics or a similar program. Great fitness benefits, but significantly less stress on the joints.

54 Ben August 22, 2010 at 8:09 am

While mentioning the financial costs of being healthy versus being non-healthy, another thing to consider is the increased energy from exercising is a lot cheaper than getting energy by spending $3 a day on Red Bull.

55 Alexander February 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Exercise is essential no matter what area you want to succeed at.

Many people get plenty of movement and simply understanding the benefit of that movement can help improve peoples health.

For people with mental jobs or low levels of activity :
If you can walk(just normal walking) 1 hour 7 days a weeks without being tired or sore you’re ready for weightlifting or bodyweight (45 min of full body lifts including rests) 3 times per week, when you’re not tired or sore , you’re ready to add a sprint(about 20 min, max 30 sec efforts with rests: stationary bike, row machine , run,some all out physical effort) once a week.

Once you can comfortably walk for 7 hours , lift 135 mins and sprint 20 min per week. your in excellent shape and very adaptable. You’l have an aerobic base , strength and speed.

56 "Mr. I Do" February 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

I enjoy exercise most when I combine my hard work with the art of elusion. For instance, as I finish my reps on a Nautilus machine, I nonchalantly add 120 lbs. just before moving on to the next machine. Then, the next person on the machine is astounded that a lanky guy like me can handle that kind of weight. In addition, I carry a spray bottle in my gym bag and, in the privacy of the locker room, I mist my face, t-shirt and underarms to produce that hard-driving aerobic look. That’s when I start my workout in the busy treadmill area.

57 Pier London July 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I’m overweight and now determined to lose weight. I want to do it for my mental and physical health, as i feel very sick and lonely at the moment.Thanks for the post!

58 John Doe Ray Mea January 31, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Inspirational.

59 Plan B April 10, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Oh yeah. As a teenager, I was skinny, bullied, and couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag. Nowadays, the tables have turned, and I’d do the ass kicking if required. The funny thing is, regularity is more important than killing yourself while exercising.

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