Getting Perspective

I saved this article half expecting it to be along the lines of "Exercise is good for your body and mind!...blah, blah, blah". It's been sitting in my Instapaper queue for a while.

Boy was I wrong...

When I first started training for marathons a little over ten years ago, my coach told me something I’ve never forgotten: that I would need to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I didn’t know it at the time, but that skill, cultivated through running, would help me as much, if not more, off the road as it would on it.

So far it was what I expected.

It’s not just me, and it’s not just running. Ask anyone whose day regularly includes a hard bike ride, sprints in the pool, a complex problem on the climbing wall, or a progressive powerlifting circuit, and they’ll likely tell you the same: A difficult conversation just doesn’t seem so difficult anymore. A tight deadline not so intimidating. Relationship problems not so problematic.

This next paragraph struck a cord with me. As a climber, more specifically as a climber who has decided to call suffering on big walls fun, I feel like I get this crystal clear perspective each time I come down off a big wall.

In a world where comfort is king, arduous physical activity provides a rare opportunity to practice suffering.

Bingo. This doesn't just apply to climbing either. The author does a great job of talking about everything from running, crossfit, and climbing to mountaineering and surfing.

Why does any of this matter? For one, articles that claim prioritizing big fitness goals is a waste of time (exhibit A: “Don’t Run a Marathon”) are downright wrong. But far more important than internet banter, perhaps a broader reframing of exercise is in order.

Like I said, I was so wrong about this was not your generic "exercise is good for you!" drab write vocalized some of what I love about the sports and exercise trends I'be gravitated towards for a while now.

Life's storms don't seem so bad when you have perspective.

How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym