The most powerful exercise routine is the one that you're able to keep doing. The key to long term results and satisfaction is developing an approach you can sustain and evolve over time.
A year of daily Crossfit gets you nowhere if it's followed by a year of burnout. Unsustainable routines can be exciting and productive in the short-term. But only lead to frustration (or injury) if the level of stress on your body, time commitment, or narrow focus can't be sustained.
As we age, we all face a natural headwind to our vitality: decreases in muscle, strength, bone density, joint/tendon function, balance, and motor control.
Each day we are investing in the future capacity of our bodies. We can plant the seeds of renewal or accept conditions that lead to decay. Like investing for retirement, the time to train for longevity is while we are young
When we shift our focus to a long horizon we unlock the power of compounding. Small daily changes snowball. The years become our friend not our enemy.
One of the most satisfying feelings is to look back over a decade and see all of the ways we have evolved.
Embracing a longer time horizon can be as simple as asking yourself a few questions:
Do I care more about how I look or feel in six weeks or six months? Is it more important to achieve a goal quickly or sustain the results? Is my health and vitality in the decades ahead something that truly matters to me?
Answering these questions honestly will highlight your timeframe. There's nothing wrong with a sprint if that's what you want most. Embrace it. Enjoy it.
But then what? Even if you love operating in a continuous series of sprints, it will be more effective and enjoyable if you periodically zoom out.
Imagine yourself 10, 20, and 30 years ahead in the future. What do you want to be able to do? Are you training these capacities? Are you building your resiliency to the natural forces of decay?
Shift your gaze from the narrow focus on a short term goal to the wide horizon of the years ahead and you will ensure you are continuing on a path that is taking you where you want to go.