Gymnastics is my favorite category of events during the Summer Olympics. I am amazed at the incredible strength of the athletes and am amazed how such a physically demanding activity at the highest level becomes graceful and artistic.
Gymnastics also helps athletes learn the value of perseverance and commitment, traits anyone can use to achieve more.
From a young age I realized that I was blessed with the ability to quickly learn new skills. Reading, writing, and problem solving were areas where I naturally excelled. However, math and science were more of a challenge. I struggled with my interest in both, simply because I couldn’t draw on my natural talents.
I had to work hard to really understand her.
Although I maintained a high grade point average throughout high school, I still didn’t have a good grasp of math and science. I did poorly in these subjects in my first two years of college and even had to drop out of chemistry class halfway through.
I was 20 years old and I still relied on my natural gifts to “get along”. I had not yet learned the value of hard work, perseverance, and commitment.
But then I decided to change something. I made a commitment to understanding the most difficult subjects by sitting in the front row, asking lots of questions, and studying for hours.
I woke up early, started exercising, and changed my lifestyle.
The last two years of study have been successful and I’ve gone through my Masters and PhD programs with the work ethic that I developed when I was 20. Even today I take on new challenges with the same commitment and perseverance that I have learned to help me overcome my fear of math and science.
I share this story because many people are not naturally gifted about physical fitness, exercise, or understanding nutrition.
Fear of the unknown can prevent anyone from reaching their full potential, and I want everyone to know that a physically active lifestyle is something that everyone can achieve – through perseverance and commitment.
This week’s exercise focuses on flexibility, another area I am not naturally blessed in. The Cobra With Quad Stretch helps to stretch the abs, lower back and quadriceps in one fantastic movement.
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1. Lie face down on an exercise mat with your arms outstretched and legs outstretched.
2. Bring your palms down on your forearms and push your chest up while keeping your hips on the floor. This is the cobra position.
3. Point both toes and slowly raise your left heel towards your left buttocks by bending your left knee.
4th Stop just before it touches your back.
5. Take a deep breath in and out.
6th Return your left foot to the starting position.
7th Do the same with your right leg.
8th. Let the chest return to the floor. This is all repetition.
Flexibility training, like many fitness activities, requires dedication and commitment. Doing this exercise once or twice may feel good, but it doesn’t change your long-term flexibility.
So this week’s lesson is really about committing to a specific goal and doing the little things that are necessary to get there.
When I think back on accomplishments I’m most proud of, they almost always coincide with the workload. Let’s start your success story today. As the famous Chinese proverb says, “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”
Matt Parrott looks forward to hearing from his readers. Send him questions or share a story about your pandemic workouts below