Today we have hundreds of different approaches to exercise, training, equipment, etc. No one could possibly be without excuse if they can’t find what they’re looking for. Weight training, athletic conditioning, and cardio programs all abound and they’re out there just waiting to be tried or used. But what if the modern facilities we have now didn’t exist nor the manufactured weights, machines and multitudes of fitness gear? How would we exercise or train? Or maybe more importantly, would we? I believe most of us would find alternative ways or means to stay fit…. But just ‘what if‘ we tried doing it right now?
As a fitness enthusiast for years I enjoy and continue to enjoy outdoor fitness and training. While there are many, many paths one can choose to reach his or her fitness goals, I find the outdoor approach the most challenging and rewarding. I can’t say where this passion began exactly, but it could have started subconsciously in high school when I read about the gladiators of Rome. They trained in sand, would carry and run with stones in their hands over long distances, practiced jumping over pits to develop leg strength and engaged in tug-of-war with fellow gladiators to build upper body strength. It might have also been the Spartans of Sparta I read later which inspired me good deal. Here were men trained at young ages to wrestle, survive in all types of weather, fit enough to carry a 30lb shield in one hand while wielding a 15lb short sword in the other, ah, and let me not forget their ability to throw the javelin with acute accuracy!
Though I am no warrior or soldier, I am however, attracted to the training and fitness methods of the past and even to those of the men and woman in uniform today. I find a unique freedom in outdoor fitness, and I especially like the “free” part in freedom. I like that part because outdoor fitness is free and there is much creative license for anyone to make their own outdoor fitness world come to life. Granted not everyone has space or access to earth’s raw materials, but where there’s a will there is a way.
If anyone is looking for a renewed way to be challenged; willing to be stripped of the comforts that exist in a majority of the fitness realm today, and further themselves physically and mentally explore then the opportunities that lie in outdoor exercise and training. Take a step into the past and rediscover what made the men and women of old strong of body and heart.
[Editor’s note : if you’ve never seen one of Dan’s workouts, here’s a glimpse of some log and stone training. Superb.]