JOIN ME, JOIN ME, JOIN ME, below for a different kind of workout. And I also want to tell you why this sort of thing is so important right now.

Yes, these are strange times in unchartered territory for all of us and I won’t belabour this point. And we should recognize that most experts say that this could very well indeed happen again down the road.

And as people adjust to the current situation, mental health issues like depression and such are popping up everywhere.

In the area of fitness, I think far too many of you are actually focusing too much on fitness

Many people are worried about “tracking this and counting that.” Maybe for the current new normal this is a good time to just forget all that. Pining for how it used to be isn’t going to make you feel better.

Right now is a good time to learn some lessons about “flexible fitness.” And I will say this again folks: unless you are someone who earns a living from how your physique looks everyday, then you shouldn't stress about exercise—exercise should be your stress reliever! It shouldn't be a source of stress.

Okay, enough of that.

Join me now for one of my own recent “Flexible Fitness” workouts. This didn’t even start out as an intended ‘workout.’

But it certainly ended up being a workout!

…and I took my phone with me to record and include all of you. I hope you enjoy it but I want to make some relevant points about it as well.

Fitness for the Soul: Fitness for the Senses

Now more than ever you need to UNPLUG! Do something active that doesn’t require technology or the latest news. And find a place where you can truly BE PRESENT!

Have you ever noticed in the big electronic stores that where they sell computers and televisions the screen savers are often on colourful but calm scenes of nature or beaches or such kinds of backgrounds? There’s a reason for that

Some research shows that just looking at pictures of beautiful scenes of nature has positive cognitive and healthy effects and can be very de-stressing. Research shows just being in nature has positive cognitive and emotional affects. And of course I just did a webinar about how moderate exercise has tremendous impacts on the immune system. And I could dedicate a whole blog article on the benefits of walking. So in this “JOIN-ME-blog” I am combining all of these elements together.

But ESPECIALLY in these times I do think there is a ‘right way’ of doing this ‘fitness for the soul’ sort of thing – of getting out there and experiencing what you are engaged in, and experiencing ‘fitness for the senses.’

Kelowna and West Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley

Now I realize I am one of the lucky ones when it comes to being able to do this, and to present this video blog to you all.

I live in one of the most beautiful areas in the whole world where every year, tourists spend thousands and thousands of dollars to come here and witness the majestic surroundings that are my home. And yet my favourite places are not known to tourists and not even to many of the locals either.

I was very excited recently to finally try out a new trail that opened just up the street from me. Since I knew it to be in an area of higher elevation I wanted to wait till I was sure the snow was melted on the trail.

But my experience here walking trails has taught me a lot about ‘how to do it’ to get the best experience out of it. And this is why I call this “Fitness For the Senses.”

As you watch the video and listen to the commentary you will hear the excitement and invigoration in my voice. As I always say, your fitness and exercise regimen should leave you feeling invigorated, not exhausted.

Hopefully you will witness and share the excitement with me as well

The Senses:

SIGHT: I got to the trail early and was fortunate enough to watch the sunrise over the distant hills while the moon still hung in the blue-sky morning behind me. And of course all of this is also right along the stunning lake views as well. And from the parking area all the way up to the peak – this isn’t a workout for the eyes, but it certainly is fitness for the eyes.

At one point at the peak you will hear me say, “And there’s no sign of life at all.” What I meant was this: usually everywhere that there is crystal blue water you see and hear boats, jet skis and people everywhere. But this sight was just nature unpluggednone of those sights, and none of that noise—just a matter of stopping to witness it all along the way.

SOUND: At one point along the trail there is a big sign posted that merely says, “LISTEN.”

YEP, that is absolutely great advice for trail hiking.

Take the earbuds out of your ears! Let the calming effects of an absolute pristine silence wash over you. There are no sounds of traffic or civilization here. At one point I was jolted by the sound of falling rocks behind me. I looked up to see some deer checking me out. By the time I got my camera out and on to video they were already gone.

But I would not have heard that or seen them, if I had ear buds in my ears.

You know I’m laughing to myself as I write this because right outside my office window are the early morning sounds of all the birds singing to each other. Why would I ruin that by putting ear buds in my ears?

So as with the sense of sight, this is not so much a workout for the ears but it is, all the same, fitness for the ears!

SMELL: The first couple of people I showed this video to, people who have been here to Kelowna before – they said to me – “Just watching that I can smell that fresh air there.” And of course since I live here I no longer notice this but I knew exactly what they meant. Every year when I go to Aruba the very first thing I take account of is the ‘smell’ in the air as I disembark the plane – and I look forward to that first moment every single year!

KINESIS: We could call it sense of touch or whatever, but when walking trails or climbing trails, there is certainly that awareness as well. And if you think, well that’s stretching it a bit – then look at it this way – the difference between being there walking vs. standing on a treadmill in your house as you watch TV!

Now I don’t wear or use technology on my walks at all. I usually don’t even take my phone with me, but I wanted to include you all since it is so breathtaking and many of you could use a little of that right now.

And all along the way – do you hear the excitement and appreciation in my voice? That’s what nature can engender.

What I did do when I returned home – just for fun – was Google Search – how many “floors in a building” would be equivalent to 1,300 meters climb. And it came out as being over 393 flights of stairs in a building!

Would I want to climb 393 flights of stairs in a building? No – but I will surely go back to climbing this ascent again and again.

And that is what I am talking about here!

UNPLUG: So here is how to do it right: Forget the earbuds, and forget your Fitbit for crying out load. NOT EVERYTHING THAT COUNTS CAN BE COUNTED! Try to get back to just experiencing “a walk” in as pure a form as is possible for you. Just be out there and bear witness.

Now if you aren’t as fortunate as I am to be surrounded by as many options as I am – there must be a river trail or nice quiet neighbourhood where you can just walk and be and bear witness. If you do want to take some technology – take some binoculars – look for and watch birds in the trees or whatever. The important thing is TO BE THERE!

This blog is already longer than I wanted it to be – but I hope you enjoy all of the video and the commentary and maybe it will give you some ideas as to some “flexible fitness” options you could engage in, in your area – without making it be about ‘burning calories’ and ‘counting steps’ and all the rest of that.

Sometimes, we just need to engage “Fitness for the Soul.” And now more than ever, most of you could use some of this in your life on a regular basis.

Perhaps this is what Keats meant when he opined that “beauty is truth, truth beauty / That is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know” (and all he was doing at the time was staring at an urn!).