Q: Matt, I’ve noticed that many of the fitness gurus on social media are doing exercises that are extreme. What’s your take on them? Are they good for you? I just want to live a long, healthy life with joints that don’t wear out. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t see these programs as good for you in the long term.
A: Ron, I’m not in fan of most of the extreme exercises people are doing. They look great. They are impressive. But I don’t believe they are a good long-term longevity strategy. Your body is not a machine – and machines are prone to wear and tear, too. When you see people getting a joint replaced at an early age, you can be certain that something was fundamentally flawed in how they trained. It’s far better to focus on simple, fundamentally sound movements that incorporate deep breathing.
Last night I was speaking with a gentleman in his 60’s who has incurred various injuries in recent years. He told me that he’s moving away from the ultra-challenging and mega-difficult style of exercise. Why? Because he recognizes that his body is not a machine. He’s doing the SIMPLE breathing exercises and calisthenics that Farmer Burns teaches in his 1914 course, Lessons in Wrestling and Physical Culture, and he’s stunned at how effective they are.
“These exercises change your body fast and yet you would think they couldn’t based on how easy they appear,” he said.
“Simple exercise wins,” I replied.
At some point, you are wise to simplify your own exercise routine. If you beat your head into a post, there is a price to be paid down the road. You may think you’re invincible when you’re doing it, but you’re not.
SIMPLE may not impress people on social media, it may not get you a ton of “likes” – but it’ll give you the results you want.
Train smarter – not harder.