I’m not a fan of exercising. I pretty much hate it and then I kinda hate myself for hating it. So I try to make it fun. In fact, I try to make basically everything fun. And I find I can really enjoy exercising when I incorporate it into other fun activities.
Long dog walks. When I have the time on a Saturday morning and the weather is nice, I’ll take my dog on a 3 or 4-mile walk. As the Dog Whisperer says, a tired dog is a good dog. He enjoys it, I do, and everyone is better behaved.
Biking to work. Another way I incorporate exercise into my daily life is by biking to work during the spring and summer. It’s an invigorating way to start the day and fantastic exercise if you can manage it. It requires a lot of complicated gear and clothing transfers so it’s best to join a gym near your office with lockers for storing clean clothes.
Playing pickup basketball. Hoops is one of the best ways to stay in shape. There is the chance of the odd ankle twist and finger jam, but the consistent effort works out virtually all of your body. I try to play basketball one night per week at a nearby gym. It’s one of the few remaining bastions for male bonding in my community and a hell of a good way to stay in shape.
Getting out in nature. Hiking or taking a long walk in the woods- unless you’re in a rapey urban park- will do wonders for your spirit. If you have time, get well out of the city.
Swimming. I know it sounds boring, but I try to swim weekly by viewing it as a sort of meditation practice. I find that once I’m in the water, and especially when I’m underwater, I reach a deeply meditative mental state. It’s great when you really need to work through an issue you’re grappling with.
Find a partner. It always helps to have the accountability of friends.
Build the habit. Once it’s a habit it becomes a lot less painful. Make time for exercise in your life and make it fun.
There are ways to make exercise a lot less unpleasant. Try them.
There are many, many benefits to yoga, but here are a few in particular that men should really take advantage of-
Meeting women. The first and most obvious reason to do yoga is the opportunity to meet lots of women. Every yoga class I’ve ever taken has had a ratio on the order 3 or 4 women per male yogi. This is kind of a joke. Don’t take this too seriously.
Real estate insights. There is some evidence that the presence of yoga studios correlates to rising real estate values. When a yoga studio comes into the neighborhood, young folks with money follow.
Strength & flexibility. Of course, there are many, many benefits in the form of improved strength and flexibility. Men with back problems should be careful, but if your doctor says okay it can really make a difference in your life.
Stress reduction. A yoga class can be a calming, meditative refuge from the outside world. Men REALLY need that.
An ethic of self-care. There are countless support groups and activities available to women to assist with self-care. Men rarely take advantage of these opportunities and it comes at a major societal cost in the form of stress, illness, and bad behavior. It’s time for men to do better about this. We will ALL benefit.
If you’re dissatisfied at work, and let’s be honest, most of us are, here are a few things you can do to get moving towards something better:
Update that resume (regularly). It’s crucial to update your resume regularly so that you are ready whenever a new opportunity arises or you connect with a new contact. And consider sprucing it up. That pathetic Times New Roman font you’ve been using since 1998 is outdated. Of course, do what’s appropriate for the industry- creative or otherwise.
Practice interviewing. I’m not kidding. Find some interview questions on the Internet then get out the iPad or your phone and film yourself answering questions. Notice if you sound too casual or lazy or inarticulate or say “like” too much. This is REALLY IMPORTANT! People will go their entire lives without knowing what idiots they sound like most of the time.
Do something “extra” at work. Organize the office trip to a baseball game or a happy hour (be careful) or bring in a speaker on some important subject. Those things are not part of the job description, but they give you some visibility with the boss and other higher-ups.
Accept feedback. This is a tough one. If you are sensitive or thin-skinned or prideful, this one might hurt. So prepare yourself. Toughen yourself up. Learn some assertiveness and learn to face your fear of negative feedback. It’s hard to, but remember it is a learning opportunity.
Explore online training options. There are countless ways to cultivate your skills while you are in a job that you don’t love. Look for things that interest and will help you. Learning to write better, speak better, and generally present yourself better is a good place to start.
Dress better. It sounds weird, but it makes a big difference. Your appearance, your attitude, all of the little things you do are part of what will earn you opportunities in life.
There is a ton of advice out there. This bit REALLY works. Here are 5 reasons you should swim regularly:
Your body will never feel better. Swimming utilizes your entire body and the repetition creates enormous flexibility and strength in your neck, back, and legs.
It’s great for the mind, too. Swimming is extremely calming, even meditative. At the same time, it can help you focus your mind if you need to delve into an issue. After I swim, I’m usually unflappable for the remainder of the day.
Beats a chiropractor. I used to have constant pain in my left shoulder blade stemming from an injury that occurred while moving furniture over 10 years ago. I would occasionally go to a chiropractor who was able to make the pain go away… for about 45 minutes. It wasn’t until I started swimming regularly that the pain finally went away.
Lets out aggression. Like punching a pillow, swimming can be a safe outlet for expressing your frustration, even pretending to take a few swings at some imagined underwater foe. I’ve been known to let out a roar underwater from time to time and I urge others to do the same.
It’s a good discipline. In addition to all of the aforementioned benefits, swimming, like running or bicycling, builds discipline that carries over into other areas of life.
If you knew something would take away your back and neck pain AND put you in a relaxed mood for 12 hours or so, why would you NOT do it?