“I have a really nice office job, working with great people, having fun on the weekends. It sounds like I have my life pretty much sorted out, but something is wrong, I just can’t put my finger on it.
The work I do is not that difficult, and I get plenty of sleep, so why am I feeling so tired?
It is as if I somehow accepted the monotonous circle of work and sleep with a night out every once in a while being my only exhaust. This awful feeling affects my mind, my willpower so I stopped urging for progress. I’ve lost my ambition.”
Does this sound familiar? It sure does to me. That was my daily chain of thought not more than two years ago. I still have the same job, the same friends I go out with, but I’ve changed my state of mind from a static observer to a man full of energy.
I realized that the only way I can redeem my confidence and the will to go forward is to engage my mind and my body in vigorous exercise regularly. After an extensive research and a lot of futile attempts, I found what gets my blood to pump and my brain to go into high gear.
I’ve changed my life around with three activities: running, cycling, and golf.
In the beginning, I felt a lot like Sisyphus, but once the results started to show, it was clear that it is all worthwhile.
I have no interest in posing as a coach or a motivational speaker. This article is meant to be an example of an average Joe making a step in the right direction. I’ve decided to include a couple of things you’ll need if I have managed to get you interested in these sports. Check out what turned my life around:
- Image Credit: Ryan Knapp, Flickr
Running was actually my first activity and after a couple of weeks that were spent simply catching my breath, I realized what the fuss is all about. Running melts away all the stress, clears your head, and pushes your body to its limits. For me, running has always been a part stress release and a part exercise.
Long gone are the days when you would head out on the run through the park with just your phone, earphones and a set of keys in your pocket. Whether you run alone or in a group, there are certain accessories which will help you go the distance or simply give you a boost in inspiration that’s going to keep you moving.
- Image Credit: Dawn, Flickr
Since you do not want to end up with blisters, cramps, and skin-torn-toes it is important to pick the right running shoes. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way.
High quality running shoes are important for both hitting the treadmill and for enjoying a run in the morning fresh air.
- Image Credit: N I C O L A, Flickr
If you want to record how far you go on each run, you should be tracking your routes with a tracking device. The easiest way is to download the appropriate app for your smartphone, but if you want to go pro, you can get a specific running wristband which will measure track steps, calories burned, distance, etc. Check out some fine tracking devices here.
- Image Credit: Sagundo, Flickr
If you are enjoying long distances through the countryside, some additional items are definitely helpful during your long runs, and a running backpack is a good investment. However, you do not want the added weight to cause discomfort when you hit the trails, so it is vital to choose the right kind to have a smooth run.
- Image Credit: Tejvan Pettinger, Flickr
Cycling is, first of all, a great way to commute and it can be an exercise that perfectly blends into your daily schedule. If you are like me and want to enjoy long bike rides, cycling in a nearby forest or taking up a long distance ride is the best solution. Bicycle rides give you stamina, determination in the long run, and relaxation every time you ride your bike.
The world full of wonder and joy that is cycling is pretty much in these days, but whether you already have a bicycle or opting to buy a new one, it is recommended to have accessories to go with it. Be it a helmet, a repair kit, appropriate clothing or some basic gear, the technology in this day and age allows you to put so much more on your bike than simple lights or a bell.
Helmet and crash sensor
- Image Credit: Martin Abegglen, Flickr
Even if laws do not require them, a bicycle helmet is a must for its safety aspects. You can find helmets for different riding styles, and some advanced and modern types can have a crash sensor attached to them which will send alerts to your contacts if you have had an accident. In that case, the crash sensor app triggers a countdown, and if the countdown is not disabled, a distress signal and your GPS coordinates are immediately sent to specified contacts. More on quality helmets here.
Lights and wireless turn signal
- Image Credit: Digital Nuisance, Flickr
For better visibility when riding at night or to make you more visible to others, you should use front and rear lights. For a more technologically advanced solution, there are wireless turn signal lights with LEDs and a loud beeping sound which will emit when you make a turn, all activated wirelessly using a controller attached to the handlebar. Check out some bicycle lights here.
- Image Credit: Andrew Toskin, Flickr
You should consider bringing at least a basic repair kit with you when you hit the road. It should contain a multi-tool for basic adjustments, tire levers, a spare tube, a puncture kit, etc. The bonus is that all of these things can fit into a bike bag mounted to the seat or the frame. Other more advanced tools are certainly needed at your home, basement or a garage servicing, but when you are out there on the road, these basic tools should be all you need.
I learned to have a small repair set the hard way – you don’t have to.
- Image Credit: Krzysztof Urbanowicz, Flickr
Golf might seem like the odd one in the list as it is not as physically challenging as running or cycling. However, golf is one the best sports out there to train your willpower and focus. I was a bit of a skeptic at the beginning, but when I tried it, I found that it takes a lot of self-control, thinking, and focus.
The secret is that in golf, there is no winning or losing. It’s all about the challenge and improving; to be better than you were yesterday.
First of all, you’ll need golf clubs (I ordered my online) and a golf course near you, but there is some advanced equipment I picked up along the way that should really help a beginner.
- Image Credit: Scott Akerman, Flickr
There is one obstacle for the golf players – night. Glowing in the dark, these balls are created for the ones who want to finish playing even when the sun goes down.
- Image Credit: Marc van der Chijs, Flickr
Swing Analyzer is a sensor that you attach on your glove and it connects with the app installed on your mobile phone. It can track club head speed, hip rotation, tempo, swing plane and lot more. This way, you can analyze and improve your game significantly.
- Image Credit: Dan Taylor-Watt, Flickr
Golf GPS works the same as a car or mobile phone navigation. You can find a variety of models on the market, but they all have the same purpose – to provide you with information on the exact distance from the place you stand to the next hole regarding the obstacles. Depending on what you find suitable, you can choose between Golf GPS Watches, Clip-on Golf devices, Voice clip-on devices and Golf GPS Handhelds. This small device provided so much quality information for me that I improved significantly.
Engaging (and getting better) in sports improves us.
Nowadays, I feel like the world is my playground. I won’t go as far to say that it is solely because of sports, but they have played a major part in helping me consolidate my time and feeling confident.
Of course, what I’ve done is just an example, and there is no way to tell if my regime will work with you, but simply trying is half of the process.
Don’t settle for less; you are the only one who can change your habits and make you the person you would like to see in the mirror every day.