They say that on your death bed you regret how much time you spent in the office and how little time you spent experiencing the most memorable times with the most important people.
Little wonder then that bucket lists are increasingly common, and unsurprising that most feature at least one physical challenge or experience.
We’ve put together a bucket list of health and fitness related goals and experiences. Which ones will you do before you die?
1. Run a Marathon
Long distance running is growing in popularity throughout the world. It’s a great and cheap way to get fit and lose weight but runners may lose motivation without an event to train for, and a marathon is the ultimate event.
The good news is that even moderately fit people who follow a three-month training program can expect to complete a marathon in a respectable four hours or so.
It also may be a great opportunity to travel as there are marathons all over the world accepting applications from novices, so find one that’s three months away or more, register yourself and get training.
2. Swim the Channel
A feat such as this requires a great deal more organisation than a marathon, but within six months a sound swimmer can build the stamina and strength to go the distance. Channel swimmers usually swim solo with a crew on a boat to keep them on track and motivated and to handle any emergency that may arise so it’s a bigger organisational challenge than a marathon.
What you will encounter floating in the sea as you swim is far from pleasant, but if you manage it your name will be on a relatively short and exclusive list of celebrity swimmers.
3. Climb a mountain
The world’s smallest registered mountain is Mount Wycheproof in Australia at just 43 metres high while at the other extreme Everest stands 8,850 metres tall.
So if you want to climb a mountain there’s plenty of scope. Many people of regular fitness can manage the Three Peaks challenge in the UK (Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike) but for bigger challenges like K2 and Everest serious training and kit are required and a higher level of stamina is needed.
Whatever mountain you climb the sense of achievement and the view from the top will be amazing.
4. Do the splits
Unless you’re hypermobile or you practised gymnastics or ballet as a child, the likelihood you’ve ever been able to do the splits is small. The older we get the less mobile we become as those days spent driving, sitting at a desk, commuting on a train and so forth limit our range of movement from how we’re designed to move.
However – as every contortionist will tell you – with the proper training and dedication over time anyone who is injury free and begins with a standard range of motion can build their flexibility to assume an incredible range of positions. It has been said that daily training for three years can make a contortionist out of anyone.
By just concentrating hip mobility and hamstring flexibility on a dedicated daily basis within an 18-month period the majority of people will achieve this goal. So get yourself warmed up and get stretching…
5. Cycle a country
Taking time out of the fast lane to explore a country or region by bike is a popular choice for many because it means they get to experience the scenery, smells and sounds of places another mode of transport would deny them.
Non-motorway routes can take you from Land’s End to John O’Groats, across all of Europe, and around many of the countries of the world.
The further you plan to cycle the greater the preparation needed and for most this would be activity undertaken at least in a pair if not in a small group.
Perhaps you’ll trade such an experience for your next package holiday abroad.
6. Hold a headstand
Nothing takes you back to childhood like a cartwheel or a handstand, although they don’t come as easily nor look as graceful as they once did. But that’s not to say we can’t nourish our inner child by spending more time upside down.
A handstand requires great balance, incredible core control and a splash of confidence too, but given time it is achievable for most. Again it’s down to practise and taking up Yoga or finding an adult gymnastic class is a great start as all the asanas in the former and exercises in the latter will help prepare your body for this goal.
Add on regular practise at home against a wall or a piece of furniture and you’ll soon build all the elements you need to float your feet above you.
What’s on your list?
If you’ve got a fitness bucket list of your own don’t let it gather dust while you’re busy working. Get training to build your fitness, get researching to plan how you can make it happen, get registering so you’re committed to an event.
We promise you won’t regret it.