On April 10, 1899, Teddy Roosevelt delivered his speech, "The Strenuous Life.
"I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph. A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. It is hard to fail, but is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort.
The speech was an ode to individualism. Its backdrop was a more rigorous life and time. Most Americans did toil in the fields or did work that was physically demanding. Health and fitness came from a vigorous life.
At the turn of the last century the average work week was 53 hours; today it is 42 hours. There was no retirement for most; the average life span was less than 50 years. Today, for most of us work is not physically demanding. There is a need for exercise to maintain a level of health and fitness that will let us enjoy our abundance of free time both after work and after retirement.
Today we have the luxury of free time. Some use their free time to spend hours in a health club or personal training studio. They enjoy the process. They even get a runner’s high. A potential problem with this is the possibility of repetitive use injuries. Another drawback is that it takes up valuable free time.
Another strategy is do just enough strength training exercise to produce the largest marginal return for limited time in the gym and spend the rest of your time doing activities you enjoy. Those activities in themselves will redound positively to your health. This is the approach we use at Kelly's Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Ultimate Fitness Trainers. Do enough to cause a change, rest and recover, and come back and do a little more each week. Following such a fitness training approach your life can be transformed in minutes a week.