I have a lot of friends who are self-identified nerds. I have a lot of friends who make physical fitness a priority in their lives. The overlap between these two groups is minimal at best. I still haven’t quite figured out why this disconnect exists.
Maybe it has something to do with lingering memories of being bullied by jocks in high school? Who knows?
For me, tapping into my nerdy passions was what put me on the road to physical fitness. Imagining Helo and Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica good cop/bad copping me through my workouts was surprisingly effective. Gotta be in shape to be a Viper pilot, folks.
Before I jump into this list, I want to touch quickly on what I mean by physical fitness. The American Council on Exercise identifies 5 key factors to fitness:
- Cardiorespiratory Capacity – the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the body.
- Muscular Strength – the maximum force a muscle (or muscle group) can exert in a single effort
- Muscular Endurance – the ability of a muscle (or muscle group) to sustain repeated effort over a period of time.
- Flexibility – the range of motion around your joints and the mobility of the muscles around them
- Body Composition – a body fat percentage between 3 and 22% for people whose primary sex hormone is testosterone or between 10 and 31% for people whose primary hormone is estrogen.
1. Climb the stairs at Hogwarts.
Anyone notice there weren’t any elevators in the castle? Not exactly ADA compliant! Whether you’re actually climbing stairs, pushing a wheelchair, or anything else – simple day-to-day activities become much easier, leaving you with more energy throughout the day.
2. Outlast the Zombie Apocalypse
There’s a reason rule #1 is cardio! Whether you’re quick sprinting to get away from a shambling mass or a steady-pace run to get somewhere safely, a well-conditioned cardiovascular system will improve your endurance and keep your vital heart and lungs healthy.
3. Winter is Coming (be ready!)
Physical fitness improves your immune system making you less likely to get sick and quicker to recover when you do. Save those sick days for a sick vacation instead.
4. Be the Vampire Slayer Buffy wanted you to be
This one’s all about the blood. Regular exercise not only reduces high blood pressure but can prevent it all together. It’ll also keep your blood lipids in check – up goes the good cholesterol and down goes the bad.
5. Survive The Hunger Games
Whatever your tactic for winning, there’s plenty of ways to get hurt in the Games. Physical fitness reduces your risk for injury by strengthening your bones, ligaments, and tendons.
6. Develop your Spidey-senses
Exercise improves proprioception – awareness of your body in space. This means improved co-ordination and balance. This can also lead to fewer injuries. (I just wish I could turn into Kitty Pryde. I still can’t quite stop walking into walls.)
7. Be Incredible! Mrs. Incredible!
While you may not develop elastic limbs, flexibility is a huge key in maintaining physical fitness! Keeping your joints flexible means decreased pain and (again) decreased risk of injury.
8. Don’t Hulk Out
If you want to bodybuild, knock yourself out. This is about mental health. Regular exercise drastically reduces anxiety and depression while improving overall mood. Cardiovascular improvements will also bring more blood to the brain. I can’t guarantee you’ll become a Bruce Banner-level genius but most people report improved focus from a regular workout routine. (It can also help prevent Alzheimer’s!)
9. Level Up
Confidence. Self-esteem. Sleep quality. All of these improve as you conquer your physical fitness goals, setting yourself up to be the best version of yourself. You don’t have to want to be a fitness model or spend hours a day working out. Whatever your life’s passion or purpose, fitness gives you the ability to take it on with strength and stamina.
And that’s what makes you a superhero.
10. Join the Justice League
Surround yourself with like-minded people who encourage and empower you. The fitness world has been one of the most warm, welcoming, diverse spaces I have been in. People from all walks of life — all faiths, all ethnicities, all gender identities and sexual orientations – working together to build each other up.
Out on the Spartan course, when you’re struggling to get over a tough wall—there will always be a perfect stranger there to give you a hand or a boost.
Whether you’re meeting people in spin class or frequenting the #nerdswholift tag on Instagram, there’s an amazing community out there.
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