What is exercise to you? Why should we do it.
Deep down, we all have that small voice within our head that tells us we should probably do something or move more. The more this voice is ignored the quieter it gets.
100,000 years ago, we were all cavemen and women, hunters and gatherers. Part of our nature is to move, to be up and active. Today, we lead sedentary lifestyles. We drive to work, sit at a desk, go home and sit on the sofa, we’re not being chased by a saber-tooth tiger like we were designed to be.
We wonder why we have poor posture, poor gait tracking, tightness and stiffness within our necks and why our core muscles are weak. Quite simply, we rarely use our muscles in the way they were intended to be used.
In the news recently is a projected image of what an office worker will look like in the near future. She has rounded shoulders, varicose veins, a protruding mid-section. She is overweight with red eyes. At first glance, you may consider it someone’s idea of a joke, but it’s a very real future.
This is our reality. We’re not going to stop driving our cars or sitting at our desks.
So, what can we do?
I’d like to explore a different perspective. Life is about balance. I preach this often. If we are sitting down for work, we must balance by moving. If we are too strict on our diets, we must introduce leniency. If we are consuming too many calories, we must increase exercise.
The world is getting there, with lots of companies offering things like standing desks or gym memberships with your job contract, but the biggest help is increased awareness with more being done to incentivise us to get up, go outside and move more.
The prospect can be daunting if its something we’ve not done for a while, but trust me, your future self will be grateful for it. There are thousands of ways to be active and healthy, start small.
What effects this most is our belief system, if you don’t believe in exercise. You’ll not give it the time of day. Whereas, our cavemen and women, had no choice. They ran or died. If I did an entire post about motor oil, and you have no interest in such, you’ll switch off and not consciously take anything in. This can be the same for exercise, if you don’t value it, you won’t do it.
So how do we change that? Often, we can’t spark this in others. Have you ever had a friend that you want to train with desperately? Yet they will not even consider the option. They don’t value it. It will take a specific breaking point for this mentality to change. Breakups, diseases or illness'. That extra stretch mark caught you off guard? Something will kick start you into gear. My advice, try different things, take a walk in the park, you’ll feel better. Take slow steps towards the gym, but you must find something you enjoy, or this won’t be sustainable for you.
Does the above not sound at all like you? You’re a frequent gym bunny, striving for greatness in your spare time? Awesome! But back to that balance word - Just as not doing enough is bad for us physically and mentally, doing too much also has adverse effects on our bodies and minds.
If you are stressing about getting exercise in, when you’ve already done 4/5 sessions that week and you’re topping up to 7 days in a row, I’d offer restraint, in the simple fact that if you don’t stop, your body will make you stop. This can come in many forms - injury, muscle sprains and pulls, sickness or just being exhausted.
You’ll find, when you’re overdoing it, you won’t perform as well as you would if you’d just take a rest day. I cannot express the importance of rest enough. We gain muscle tissue, size and strength. We oxidise adipose tissue (body fat) whilst we rest.
If you do not give yourself rest. You’ll not gain any ground on the goals you’re trying to achieve. This also affects our resting metabolic rate, we’ll burn calories slower without rest. You’ll also adjust your basal metabolic rate when you put in so much exercise without compensating with calories. (energy in, energy out).
You’ll feel tired, sluggish, irritable, stressed. Are you thinking about exercise when you’re at work/home constantly? You’re over obsessing. This is just as unhealthy as the sedentary person eating 8000 calories per day. Stop, slow down, you’re supposed to enjoy it.
The point is, that if you have a healthy balance, you'll not overthink food and exercise. You'll enjoy life with full energy and embrace exercise as part of life.