The Hard Way
COMING-TO-GRIPS: exercise isn’teasy

Sometimes things are supposed to be difficult.

For me, keeping fit has been a good example of that.

Ihave always enjoyed playing sports, so for most of my life, staying in shapehas been a priority.

I’ve tried to run, swim or ride a bike on a regular basis to maintain stamina and do things like pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups for arm and core strength.

I am not, however, a big fan of exercise for its own sake so I have always found those things easier to do during periods when I was alsoplaying sports like tennis or basketball.

The desire to overcome more talented opponents by being in better shape was mymotivation, and thinking about the mechanics of a kick serve or a reverse pivot left-handed lay-up helped get me through long distance runs.

At times, pain worked as well… or more to the point, trying to avoid pain.

Those situations werethe result of three back operations and a separated shoulder I suffered while playing lacrosse at university.

The back ops required a fair bit of rehab and I found the pain stayed away if I stuck to my prescribed routine.

I didn’t get rehab for the shoulder but once the tendons had mended, I discovered everything worked better if I did a set of pull-ups every day.

If I didn’t, my shoulder ached and throwing and serving a tennis ball were quite painful.

Over the years I have played fewer and fewer competitive sports but for a while I managed to keep fit by walking for an hour each way to and from yoga classes twice a week.

And on most trips, I stopped in a park to do a set of pull-ups on a children’s climbing frame.

The yoga wasn’t competitive but the new movements were challenging and I enjoyed spending an entire morning on my routine.

After a while, though, I needed to dedicate some of that time toother tasks so I set about making my fitness programme more efficient.

The first thing I did was set a time slot for doing yoga at home.

Then I bought a pull-up bar that I fixed permanently to the office doorway where I would see it and, theoretically, use it every day.

Nice idea, but guess what?

It didn’t work.

For some reason,it was easier for me to walk five kilometres to a class than roll out a mat on the living room floor and do a routine at home.

As for the pull-ups… I not only didn’t use the bar when I walked into my office, I didn’t even see it.

It was supposed to be so obvious I couldn’t ignore it, butit just became part of the door frame.

So now I walk down to the park to do pull-ups and I go to an evening yoga class once a week.

When children are playing on the frame, I just turn around, go home and try again laterand the class runs right through my normal dinner time, so both arrangements have their problems.

The thing is, I now believe it’s better that way.

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