I love being active. I always have. As a kid, I was more interested in playing outside than playing video games. Birthday parties were sports days full of road hockey, soccer, capture the flag, swimming and more. I preferred (and still prefer) chores that are more physical in nature. I love moving my body. Challenging it. Learning from it.
I grew up playing team sports at a variety of levels. From recreational leagues to national teams. From pick-up games with friends to international tournaments. Over the past decade (wow – there’s a dose of self-awareness and realization I wasn’t quite ready for!) my primary activity or sport has been in the endurance category. If you’ve read some of my other posts you’ll know that I am an ultra-distance runner and triathlete. Basically if it sounds far and foolish it excites me.
Fun is still a huge part of my motivation to be active. Prioritizing my health has become more important as I’ve gotten older (spoiler alert – I’m in my mid 30’s). I have begun varying my activities and introducing new training methods – special shout out to my Personal Trainer. This weekend I have my first true horseback-riding lesson.
I am absolutely fascinated with the innovative scientific research detailing how exercise improves your productivity. How exercise improves your mood. How elevating your heart rate elevates your ability to function. It amazes me how exercise can sharpen your intellect, defend against memory loss, lower stress levels, and energize you. The incredible research by Anders Ericsson about how the brain functions like a muscle. The best part is that a small amount of exercise can have profound results (reminds me of our Success Story finalist Emery saying “if you always do a little, you’ll only ever have to do a little).
One of my banner goals for 2017 is to create a practice that best conducts an atmosphere for success in everything I do and positions me to achieve my other goals. These goals start with relationship and family. My physical performance goals are purposefully prioritized to support achieving the lifestyle, mental state, business and financial goals that I have.
I mean, how else are you going to be in the physical condition after a long day to have the energy to be fully present for the people in your life that are most important to you? Building my foundation on fitness enables me to achieve these things. It puts me in a position to plan what I hope will be the first of many horseback riding trips to the Okavango Delta in Botswana followed by wine tasting on South Africa’s Cape Peninsula – want to prioritize your fitness now?
Some of you are reading wondering where the “meat” of this post is. Some of you are asking “okay, that all sounds amazing, but how?”
The resource I would start you off with is a ground-breaking book called Spark by John Ratey, MD. Spark details “the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain”. Reading Spark will give you an amazing understanding of the power of exercise and physical fitness.
This week I have found myself in several conversations with people asking about my daily routine and practices. I’ll save those for a future post where I’ll share more about what I’ve learned about exercise, the brain, productivity and performance. In the meantime here’s some quick tips you can implement into your day:
- Physically move about every 45 – 90 minutes. Get up, walk around, do squats, whatever. Just move for 5 minutes every 45 – 90.
- Turn off digital displays an hour before bed. This one is still tough for me. It helps me sleep better, which gives me the energy to get up earlier in the morning and start my day with activity.
- Find an activity you love and do it when you love to do it. I get that this one sounds overly simple and obvious. Remember that just because something is common sense, doesn’t mean it is common practice.
Graham is a very experienced trail runner, having run in exotic locations all over the world including (but not limited to): South Africa, Costa Rica, Nepal, and Yellowstone National Park. All of his favourite trails are right here in B.C. His specialty is multi-day running, covering distances of 250 km over 5 – 6 days.