I always viewed myself as an active person, finding ways to build in movement every day. I got around London on foot as much as possible, and always challenged myself to run up the London underground escalators, I hiked at weekends, and took the odd aerobics class. Driving wasn’t a way of life then, so I found I was always active getting from A to B! Life changed when I arrived in Cape Town in 2007, marking the beginning of driving a car alot more to get about. It was lucky therefore, that I fell into the sport of ultimate frisbee, and began to see a more athletic side of me develop, which I had not noticed or nurtured as a young adult after school. I was motivated to see my progress and got to stay healthy as a result.
This team sport fulfilled my desire to be social in a new city, accompanied with a focus on strategic play, whilst (accidentally!) developing my fitness and fast twitch muscles. I loved all those endorphins it gave me which helped me to process settling into a new city and life. It gave me the energy to be more and do more in other areas of my life. Because I was very active, I went on to take part in a handful of half marathons (which I realised then, as Vassos talks about in this podcast, is more of a mind challenge than a physical one), before deciding to hang up my running shoes back in 2012, in favour of yet more ultimate, gym time and the odd game of tennis. And yet, in such a beautiful part of the world I still envied runners who, with just a pair of trainers, were getting or staying fit, and improving their sense of wellbeing by getting into nature, at the drop of a hat.
Fast forward over a decade and life changed as my own time became full of the demands of a young family, and I was injured in an accident, leaving me with a new appreciation for movement of my body in a way I had completely taken for granted in my 30’s. As my back and ribs healed up, I began to start running in October 2019 as I so wanted to become active again. I stuck to it, and slowly began to go from 2 km to 4km 2 times a week to 3 times a week. And there lay the foundation that has become one of my healthy habits to date. I had to keep doing it to create the habit and move from a very conscious competence to an unconscious competence.
We have since been through a global Pandemic with South Africa imposing one of the strictest lockdowns in the world! I have found running a free and easily accessible opportunity to get hot and sweaty outside in nature, setting me up for the day. It is a time to listen and learn with my favourite audiobooks and podcasts which helps me kill two birds with one stone! I never feel bored when I run, which was something I must confess I used to find at times.
My running goal is one of the simplest: to run short distances outside, every week. It’s free, it keeps my body moving, and, combined with resistence exercises and weight training on one or two other mornings in my week, and a yoga class in there the mix, my body takes me through each day and does what it needs for me to live my life to the fullest. It is nothing more than that. We are all unique and will have our own goals. My motivation is creating the means to everyday comfort in my physical body rather than an event.
Listen to Rangan Chatterjee find out how Vassos Alexander developed his passion for running in this lively full length podcast. Let it inspire you to discover what you could get out there and do yourself!
Are you getting in your own way? Are you ready to do something about it?
Remember, exercise is simply moving your body, something we are designed to do. It doesnt have to be a marathon, simply going for a walk every day makes all the difference, and who knows where it can lead…