“You can be anything, do anything… it just takes a bit of work.”
I spend a lot of time dreaming about who I want to be.
I’ve thought about it for as long as I can remember but the picture only gets cloudier with time. When I was growing up, it seemed like there were only a handful of ways to live—work a physically demanding job until your body could no longer support it, pay thousands of dollars for school in hopes that you would land a job that paid enough for you to pay it all back, or somehow win the job lottery and find something that sat perfectly between the two. For some reason, it took me my whole life to realize that the people who “won,” didn’t win by chance. They won because they explored so many different options until they finally found what worked best for them.
Would you believe that the same thing applies to your physical health?
In our lifetimes, we’re only really exposed to a handful of options to maintain our physical health. My mom, who grew up in poverty, relied on running, walking and body weight exercises to stay fit. When I was three, she put me into skating lessons so that I could learn how to do something that she was curious about. And, honestly, skating is the only physical activity I did until I moved out. But, how do you find what really works for you (if your parents didn’t force you into it as a child)?
Solving problems like this isn’t easy. In fact, if you’re a business student, you’ve probably already learned in marketing that organizations profit from proactively selling us solutions (often to problems that we didn’t know we had) to create consumer value. You’ve probably already experienced this firsthand when it comes to fitness. Do you remember how excited you were the last time you made a purchase to invest in your health? That new fitness tracker, yoga mat, or water bottle made you feel healthier because we have subconsciously come to believe that specific items can fix our problems. The real problem though, is that these solutions never seem to last.
So, if you’re like me, you’ll jump between every option that has every been presented to you. I like change, but this gets exhausting. With people coming up with new, crazy inventions (anyone own a shake weight?), our limitless options are constantly increasing…
HOW DO WE DECIDE?!?
Simple—trial and error! You can be anything, do anything… it just takes a bit of work. First, decide if you would prefer to try a bit of everything or stick to a specialty. Then, explore your options. You could lift weights, go for a walk, visit a trampoline park, join a rowing team, learn to play disc golf… When you’re trying to find out what works for you, try to look for something that is fun, has some variety, and encourages connection. Evaluate your options, try something out and then reassess if it works for you. If you don’t like it… repeat, repeat, repeat until you find your groove (and don’t be afraid to drop something and start the process again if things get dull).
Questions to ask when exploring physical activity options:
FUN: This factor is unique to you and completely depends on the things you like. How do you see yourself? What do you like to do? Would you choose the activity you’re trying over other things? Can you see yourself making time for this?
VARIETY: If you want to find an activity that will keep you happy for a long period of time, it needs to be challenging enough to encourage you but forgiving enough to let you recover. Does this activity challenge you in different ways? Is it focused on improving just your strength, balance, flexibility, agility, or some combination of everything? Can you see yourself participating in this when you’re energetic? What about when you’re out of motivation?
COMMUNITY: This is a huge driver in staying with physical activity. A feeling of community can really support you when you’re out of motivation or going through a tough time. Ensure that the connection here is right for you—is it an individual sport or team sport? Highly competitive and supportive? Or minimum encounters between participants? Make sure you choose something that best supports you.
Stephanie grew up in a small town and has enjoyed adjusting to life in Vancouver. She like to keep an open mind and learn about other people’s lives. When Stephanie is procrastinating from her studying she can be found falling at ice rinks or attempting to ride tandem bicycles at Stanley Park.