HOW TO | Stick to an exercise program

AH, NOTHING like a swim… and a bike… and a run at the crack of dawn on a still Saturday morning, is there? No, there is not. Having completed my first triathlon last weekend — okay, fine it was a SUPERSPRINT (375m swim, 10k bike, 3k run) race, not long distance — I can say with conviction that there is nothing like it (except maybe a longer one). I snorted nose-fuls of water, felt my thighs cramp, my lungs burn. Despite all that, crossing that finish line (and not dead last. Top 10%, thank you very much) gave me a sense of accomplishment that no killer treadmill session nor Bosu cardio class ever could.

Why? Because it was all done with purpose. Which is — I’ll just give you the secret to sticking to any exercise program straight away — PARAMOUNT. There’s no denying that exercise however you can get it is beneficial. It alleviates depression, builds denser bones, curbs obesity, quells anger, combats chronic diseases, boosts energy and immunity and all sorts of other wonderous things.

However, I have been converted to the camp that believes exercising for the sake of exercising is about as productive for your mental and physical health as moving rocks from point A to point B and back again in a Russian prison. And I admit to having once been a strict believer in going to the gym simply to check it off my list, to say I had done it (as so many people do). Sadly, you might actually get better muscle definition with those Russian rocks than at level 2 on the Elliptical, if my experience says anything. My arms were never so ripped as they were after 7 days of climbing Kilimanjaro with walking sticks. Pointless gym exercise? 0. Moving with a purpose? 1.