Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

You’ve tried jogging, signed up to the local gym and made a few New Year’s resolutions.

But for some reason, you can’t seem to make the healthy habit stick.

You think it’s because you lack self-discipline.

So do your arrogant fit friends.

Guess what, you’re both wrong.

The reason you and 80% of gym members quit within five months, is because you didn’t consider these four crucial factors.

E is for Experience

When taking up a sport or physical activity, either you need experience, or you need continued access to the experience and guidance of a peer.

For example, six months ago, I took…

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

A COVID-19 vaccine is being hailed as the only way to safely restore our economies, take off the facemasks, and reopen schools.

As of July 29th, 27 vaccines are in human trials, with six already in large-scale efficacy tests. If found to be safe, and produce a robust immune response, then these vaccines will be manufactured in massive quantities.

The German company BioNTech, in collaboration with Pfizer, is developing one potential vaccine already in human trials. If approved, Pfizer said they expect to manufacture over 1.3 billion doses of their vaccine worldwide by the end of 2021.

Similarly, the British-Swedish…

In this week’s article, we look at why throwing is so much fun and the anthropological connection between palaeolithic hunting and our modern love of any sport in which we get to launch a projectile.

If you ask local fisherman where the Balearic Islands got their name, they’ll tell you that it comes from ‘baile de aire’ or ‘dance of the winds’. But if you ask a historian, they’ll tell you that these Spanish islands- which protrude out of the western Mediterranean sea, halfway between north Africa and Europe- derive their name from the ancient Greek ‘ballo’ meaning “to launch”. Islanders were such skilled stone slingers that the Greeks, and later the Romans, named the whole archipelago after them.

Legend has it that mothers would hang picnics up in olive trees. If the children wanted…

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

I wake up to the sound of early-bird hikers plodding past my van. I rub my eyes, eat a can of tinned tuna, pull on my wetsuit, and follow them down the stone stairs to the coast.

The bay is immaculate, its glassy water glossing over patches of turquoise and navy blue. No unsettled sediment dulls the glow of God’s swimming pool. Wading off the dried algal beach, I feel like a miniature figure in a glass of cool spring water, its dew droplets leaving a ring stain on my desk. …

The captain of a sinking ship turns on channel 16 and radios in a distress call, “Mayday, Mayday! We’re sinking! We’re sinking!” only for the thick-accented German coastguard to answer, “Really, what are you thinking about?”

There’s more to this joke than meets the ear.

Imagine you’re not on a boat but still find yourself in deep water.

Will you sink or will you swim?

Before you can start swimming, there’re a few things to figure out. Which direction will you swim in? With which stroke- breaststroke, crawl, butterfly or doggy paddle?

There’s a lot to think about. But all…

Are we going in the right direction as a species? Are we evolving, or devolving? Are we creating a society that will flourish, or perish?

Pre- COVID-19, I would have said that we are heading in the right direction. I like the words of the late Swedish physician and medical researcher, Hans Rosling. In his last book, ‘Factfulness’ he uses data and graphs to show that lots of things about the world (like extreme poverty and deaths in violent conflict) might still be bad, “but they’re getting better”. That is a testament to the governments and institutions we have in…

“I’m not moving” my brother insisted and, true to his word, he lay back down on the grass and closed his eyes.

That morning, three of us had cycled from the coastal town of Palma Nova up to the small mountain village of Galilea. The final ascent to 460 metres above sea level was steep and meandering. It demanded a certain level of fitness. At the time, my buddy and I were training for a half-ironman. We found the 18 kilometre climb challenging but manageable.

My brother, on the other hand, had no such cycling experience.

He used to be…

One-Click Conditioning: making the media algorithms work for you.

When I signed up to Medium I was given a choice. I could choose from a list of topics that would determine the articles that were fed to me on my homepage. As it happens, I chose ‘writing’.

Now, every time I look at my smartphone and open up the Medium app, I’m fed articles about writing; about when to write, what to write, and how to write. Those articles serve as motivation and guidance. They have helped me to where I am just four months down the line: a writer.

Did self-discipline forge my new writing habit? Or was…

Have you recently been ill or injured? Or are you, like me, locked at home in the midst of a viral pandemic?

That’s my excuse for giving up my old exercise routine and my justification for spending leisure time on the sofa.

Feeling claustrophobic, I finally left the confines of my apartment and trudged up to the roof of our eight-story building. Clay tiles baked under the afternoon sun. A remarkably fresh urban breeze wafted up my nostrils. Birds chirped through a cloudless sky. I felt healthy and centred.

Then I made the mistake of taking off my shirt. The…

Simon Kenion Shears

A Philosophical Consultant and Fitness Coach, sitting firmly on the fence between a man of words and a man of action.

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