Every now and then, a good workout slips through the cracks, and leaves you feeling like you really haven't done "enough." Enough? Sometimes when I sit back and really look at my regular routine as it has been for well over the last decade, I wonder what the heck people did before the jogging craze ever started and gyms started popping up on every corner. Don't get me wrong, I love fitness. Along with good nutrition, it's my livelihood. But if we really examined how our culture operates, I think generations from long ago would be shocked to see how much we carry on about exercise - and all of its accessories. In general, we pay a lot of money for workout clothes, special equipment, like yoga mats and medicine balls - and let's not forget about gym memberships.
Then vs Now
I think it's safe to say that our ancestors lived inherently active lives - at least much more active than ours. The need for additional activity wasn't as great. Today I can do everything from the comfort of my laptop - whether I'm at my desk, sitting in a coffee shop or in my bed. I sit on my tush, and get it done. This is work. That's not to say that many of us don't have more vigorous jobs, but you get the point. My great grandmother, who did not drive and lived in a city, was on foot much of the day. If she wanted to change the channel on the television, she got up and did it. And then, as if to add insult to injury, she'd have to manually turn the big box on and off again! When the phone rang, she stood up and walked to go get it. The phone had a cord on it, so she was tethered to one place...standing!
I never worked in a work environment when email wasn't available. If I wanted to communicate with someone, even if they were three cubicles away, I would shoot off an email. Decades ago, if two co-workers in the same office needed to communicate, they'd probably get up and walk.
I could go on, but I think we all know the conveniences of today far out weigh yesterday. The option to move more has nearly disappeared. I love technology and all that it has to offer. I love my remote control. I love my wireless internet connection. I love that if I need a good recipe for dinner, I can probably find one online in less than 30 seconds (I don't have to lug around a heavy cookbook *gasp*.) Love. Love. Love.
What irks me is this:
- The person in the grocery store parking lot who drives at a snail's pace (in front of me) waiting for the closest place to park. Apparently ten feet closer makes a big difference.
- The person who chooses the escalator, to go up one floor, when taking the stairs is an option. Note: This applies to grown ups on their own. Not parents with little ones in tow who liken escalators with carnival rides.
- The person who orders food from the restaurant around the corner - and then has it delivered! Note: This does not apply to parents with children who are napping or having a meltdown.
When you can, move.
The conveniences of our life aren't going away. Now, more than ever, we need to take advantages of the opportunities to move around when possible. The act of walking is so important. There is no need to sweat. There is no need to even think of it as a workout. Just move. Sedentary activity level, or the amount we move around that isn't related to exercise, accounts for about 10% of our metabolism. Want to make a little bit of a difference? Get up and walk when you have the choice. If a parking spot isn't readily available, park further away. Going up one flight of stairs, forgo the elevator or escalator. These little changes can add up to a much bigger difference than you realize.