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Success Journey V.

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When it comes to health and well-being, regular exercise is about as close to a magic potion as you can get.~Tich Nhat Hanh

I am curating this series for two main reasons.

  1. I want us to walk together in developing the essential habits for a successful life, and

For the second reason, I will sometimes digress into personal narrations of my experience in order to own this work. I did so in Success Journey II and I crave your permission to do that again.

In the last post, we stressed the importance of walking/jogging in the mornings to get in tune with nature as we kickstart the day. Now it is important that we talk about regular exercise in more detail and I’ll do this with my story.

Like most people tracing my active lifestyle dates back to primary school where the mid-week PEs were fun. We always looked forward to the exciting 30 minutes of outfield exercise during the break period.

In secondary school, there were plenty of sports and recreational activities like table and lawn tennis, badminton, hockey, basketball etc, but in CIC much like other male schools football was the game. Almost everyone played football.

In our senior years, we became more interested in socialising with the outside world. Hanging out at Campus II and Metro Cinema. There was the weekly cross country for us to display dancing skills and bragging rights to the chics at Queens School. I rarely missed them.

Then the early adulthood after secondary school had one ossifying other habits which were inimical to a healthy life. Regular drinking and smoking continued into the Uni days.

Barring the 5-Aside popularly called Espana in Unimaid and our fun Saturday soccer at Amawbia during my Unizik days, I can’t seem to recall any participation in serious exercises all through my Uni days.

It wasn’t till my 30s that I once again became committed to regular exercises. After a short stint at Okpara square and the few gyms available in Enugu, I switched to working out at home by adding dumbells and a sit-up bench to my skipping rope.

Nevertheless, the usual morning rice and sauce at Dan’s and later Ofe Akwu Ogoo ensured that one only managed to stay fit without a healthy diet to keep trim. I was fine with that. I wasn’t overweight and rarely weighed up to 80kg.

Then in Lagos, inspired by a friend we started with the gym at Union bank staff club in Surulere and moved to irregular rounds of 5km jogging around Chevron when I moved to Lekki. We took it further with membership at a gym along Lekki expressway. Still, it wasn’t anything regular.

That was from 2007–2009. I was on the wrong side of 30 when you start growing horizontally and suddenly realise that something needs to be done to keep in shape.

It will all change when I moved to Cardiff for my masters. There was a gym nearby and 2 parks within a strolling distance. Jogging/walking in the park became a habit, it was more regular than the gym. Ever since then I haven’t looked back. I will feel ill if I don’t do any form of exercise for 2days.

You see we receive special dopamine from the activity of the mind and exercise of the body, indeed both work in tandem towards giving us a more fulfilled life. If you live a life of the mind without exercising your body then you won’t have that balance.

So my advice is usually to make running a habit. Run, jog, walk, whichever suits you but just keep moving. See it as a celebration of what your body can do and not a punishment for what you consume. If you cover 5km in an hour then you are in the top 10% of people on the planet.

A simple question usually pops up here; Isn’t an hour too much to sacrifice daily? Well, since there is no argument about the benefits of working out daily my answer is simpler; As of 2020 the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 145 minutes per day, that’s over 2 hours. Cut that by half and you have more than adequate time to exercise.

Now let us do this for a week and see how it goes because good things come to those who sweat!

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