Winter has come. That means different things to people based on their climate, but I’m of the opinion that winter is relative. You’d be right that the “cold” I face isn’t as objectively dangerous or unpleasant as the cold people in New York, Ottawa, Chicago, Warsaw, or Stockholm face. What’s cold to me in Malibu is short-sleeve weather in my native Maine—but it’s still cold to me today! “Feeling cold” is the defining characteristic.
Today, I’m going to tell you why you should appreciate and enjoy the cold season.
Nature, Play, Primal Lifestyle
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. First up are some swimming tips for a novice swimmer who read last week’s post and wants to incorporate swimming into the schedule. What strokes to learn? What workouts to try? I also discuss the downsides of chlorinated pools. Next, a new study claims that whether you lift heavy weight for low reps or lift light for high reps has no effect on strength or size, so long as you go to failure. Is this true?
Fitness, Lift Heavy Things, Low Level Aerobic Activity, Play
It’s inevitable. Sometimes in life we get stuck. We feel stuck. We get in a rut, and from there all motivation can fizzle and sputter until it craps out entirely. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this scenario. It’s the way of human nature, I’d say. Boredom can be a productive influence if there’s space for it to inspire something new. Alternatively, it can be a deadening force if we’ve boxed ourselves into an uncompromising daily drill. A sense of sameness can numb us over time, lull us really, until one day we wake up and realize we’re not having fun anymore in this game of life. In abandoning novelty and adventure, it dawns on us, we’ve also abandoned ourselves.
Play, Primal Lifestyle
In the US, summer is upon us. And it is damn hot. To keep cool and to get in a good stretch after lifting, I’ve been putting in a few laps a few times a week.
As a triathlete, my most hated leg of the race was the swimming. I hated being in cold water. I wasn’t the strongest swimmer, so it was—physically—the toughest part. But in recent years, I’ve come to embrace my time in the pool (at least as a post-workout stretch). Maybe it’s cause my cold tolerance has gone up. Maybe it’s that I’m no longer swimming miles at a time, instead doing dramatically shorter swims. Maybe it’s because I do it for pleasure, rather than training for one of the world’s most grueling events. All I know is that those few laps every week have worked out nicely. But for you water lovers out there, there’s a whole host of benefits that swimming has to offer. So if you’re suffering from the summer heat and looking for a great way to cool down while getting in a pretty extensive workout, swimming should be toward the top of your list.
Fitness, Low Level Aerobic Activity, Play
How do you want to look back at this vacation season with your kids or extended family? What will you do to make it a memorable bonding experience? Family time these days, as many of us recognize, has quickly morphed into several people inhabiting the same physical space while each individual gets lost in their own personal screen. One communication expert likened this new technological isolation to the “parallel play” that occurs between toddlers (a kind of interaction we probably shouldn’t model if we want strong non-toddler relationships). The takeaway is that our attention spans have regressed as a result of our technology, and so, perhaps, has our intimacy. So what are some Primal ways you can reconnect and strengthen the bonds within your family (while having fun in the process)?
Play, Primal Lifestyle
“So, what do you do?” We’ve heard the question (and likely asked it) a million times over when meeting people. It’s the standard line for small talk, but it’s always rubbed me the wrong way. Admittedly, the question itself isn’t the problem. I personally love hearing what people are up to, but the assumption behind the question—“What do you do to make a living?”—often won’t get you to the real stories. For me, I’d rather hear about how people feed their passions than how they pay their bills. For many if not most people, the two don’t go hand in hand. I think those passions might be in shorter supply these days, and it’s a sad turn of events for the collective creativity as well as personal well-being.
With extended work hours and commutes as well as the prevalence of technological distractions, many of us are devoting fewer hours to hobbies. We fulfill the requirements of the day, but what do we end up doing for fun beyond the passive entertainments of the television and computer? And when we do take advantage and do something we enjoy, do we take the time to cultivate our interest? Do we allow ourselves to delve into an activity many times over, to develop a skill for pure enjoyment and mastery’s sake as opposed to practical gain?
Creativity, Habits, Personal Improvement, Play, Primal Lifestyle