We all have time to exercise, we just have more excuses, and making the most of sixty minutes always sounded a bit rushed to me! But I had just that, start to finish, a one hour window of evening light, as the evenings are drawing in. My choices to fill that time with some selfish fun were as follows ... surf of ride my bike? Why? I can't do the gym, I'm not paying £40 per month to run on a treadmill, or lift weights, and I hate running as I broke my foot a couple of years back so that ones out.
Granted the day before I'd had a cracking 30 minute surf before rushing up the hill to fullfil my role as a Airbnb host, so there were extenuating circumstances for such a brief surf. Primarily, we were happily parked and payment made, I was already in a wetsuit and myself and family were already on the beach. Secondly, I was wet already!! Nonetheless with a clearance window to neglect the family, it was a brilliant 30 minutes of fun filled longboarding on a perfect wave, kindly gate crashing a fun surf session with friends I'd not seen for ages.
So on this day , with one hour of light, all the hassle of getting parked and paying more money, changing into a damp wetsuit and walking down the far end of Sennen beach for a crowded wave, on new sizeable South Westerly swell, for what would likely be two waves, amongst a frothing crowd of young rippers, and then fighting to get out of my suit again, well, I made the choice of option B...go ride my bike!!
I had light and time to throw my bike on the car, and head up to the first, and last hill in Britain, Chapel Carn Brea, 687ft above the waves below, ride as hard as I could until nearly sick!!
It was probably one of the most intensive but enjoyable sessions I've had on my Enduro bike. Both physically and mentally, I felt the benefits with fast paced climbs, into flat out descents, sprinting, followed by a technical climb, flat out descent and so on. I followed this pattern for 45 minutes until my legs were jelly and my lungs heaving, even my beard was sweating! The last 15 minutes I just enjoyed riding, at a relaxed steady pace trying new lines, progressing my gravity skills, and saying hello to the five ponies that rome free grazing on the hill and having a quick selfie.
A short, sweet, adrenaline filled one hour session is often all that is needed. I'm sure we have all been told at some point, myth or not, that cars occasionally need a good flat out rag to blow out the cobwebs, and thats what this felt like!
In our lives of commitment its easy to get frustrated not having enough time to play! Lets face it, most men are arguably still children at heart, yet our long suffering wives, mine especially, are often more organised in their planning of activity, and yet probably struggle to keep us tethered at times, or we'd simply play all day long and when we can't play, we get grumpy. As the commitments grow, and the evenings now draw in again, playtime can often be short, or seemingly non existent, frustration pours out and tensions run high. It's about the balance, and by making it short and sweet, all parties are happy and you've increased your chances of doing the same again very soon, I believe these are known as gaining brownie points.
The benefits of limited time, intense activity sessions are firstly super fun if you go into it with that positive mindset, almost with a plan of what you want to achieve. Simply resenting the fact you only have limited time will only result in frustration, lack of focus and a negative experience.
One hour to cram as much fun in as possible, at a pace that suits you, means you will come home physically tired but not frustrated, and certainly not distracted by what your missing. Make the most of that one hour window with an activity that is accessible and will maximise the craving for fun and you'll be fully stoked you went out.
Going back to my surfing, my 30 minute surf was treated like a heat in a competition, 30 minutes, best four waves to be scored. It was fun, made me choose my waves carefully, but work hard at the same time. I was mindful that others were getting there waves too so often took left overs, but made the most of those. It was fun, my surfing seemed progressive and I achieved what I wanted to before I became tired. I returned to my family, happy, an no longer distracted. It was 30 minutes of much needed stoke.
I hope, for those who might read this, you might recognise and relate. I'd like this post to encourage you to reframe the way you might be thinking about time and exercise. You have time, you have one hour, thats one hour to feel frustrated or one hour to have fun? Easy decision really.