I did four push-ups yesterday and my arms are really sore today. And before you ask, no that wasn't a typo. I did four push-ups. Not forty-four. Not four hundred and four. Four. There are four letters in the word four. There are also four letters in another word that came to my mind when I realised that I could barely do four measly push-ups and that I have absolutely no upper body strength.
It seems to me that being fit is a real fad at the moment. Be fit. Work hard. Look good. Count calories. Work hard. Be fit. Look good. You get the idea I’m sure. Paleo cafes are the new hang out for fitness freaks and twenty-four hour gyms are popping up on every street corner. But is this all really necessary?
My grandparents never did push-ups, sit-ups, or squats. They never went for runs, lifted weights, or did spin classes. Instead, they ploughed, dug, hand washed and tended to their animals. And of course they walked. They walked great distances. In fact there is a wonderful story about my Grandfather returning home from service in the Second World War; a tired and weary man, his army uniform turned to tattered rags slung shabbily on his bony frame. He had walked several hundred kilometres from northern Greece through villages and towns, night after night, day after day, before arriving at his ultimate destination. My grandparents had lived active lives out of necessity. They weren’t worried about having a six pack, they were worried about not contracting tuberculosis. And the only running they ever did was in the opposite direction of the Turks, Germans and Italians at different historical times.
Following the revelations I've already made, you might not be surprised to learn that I have never attended a gym session in my life. I've never paid for gym membership. I've never even stepped foot in a gym. 'Never been to a gym and proud' is what my placard would say if I was some kind of anti-muscle extremist that thought holding up a sign would have any impact on gym goers.
That’s not to say that I think exercise and a general want to maintain a healthy fitness level is a negative thing. Far from it. But let’s not get carried away, is what I’m saying. Do what you can. Push yourself a little if you want to improve but be sensible about it. I have started with four push-ups. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I will keep you posted.
Good luck and be healthy,