Workout or fitness would be the last thing on your mind after coming back from a busy day at work and all that we dream about is to spend time doing some sedentary leisure activity that keeps us happy. Exercise might be a priority item on the ‘To Do’ list alongside earning money and taking care of children but it seems to be the best one to skip as the beneficiary is none other than ourselves and our needs are least prioritized or in fact, even ignored. Exercise has become like a diet fad. We have different new ones cropping up every other day to attract us and swallow our money-Cross Fit workout, HIIT, kick boxing classes, Zumba dance, aerobic classes, gym machines, jogging, marathons and boot camps that include play-way exercises. What is exercise basically? It is a physical activity that involves bodily movements aimed at improving overall fitness and health. It does not, in any way try to deliver the fact that exercise must involve any of the options listed above. In fact, we do have fossil records showing that prehistoric humans were fitter and healthier than our Olympians of today! It is indeed a shame but it’s us, our technological revolutions and discoveries, that’s led us to this state of life.
Our early cavemen survived life day in and day out by fighting and facing challenges imposed. They had to hunt for food, strive for drinking water, fight against predators, toil hard in the sun to build homes for staying and even prepare tools by themselves for various purposes. Even a century ago our forefathers worked hard-scrubbing doors, mopping floors, buying groceries and washing clothes and scrubbing utensils-though it wasn’t as hard as our early caveman days. But now, technological discoveries have dramatically reduced our burden of workload. Dishwashers do our dishes, groceries are delivered online, food is ordered via apps and delivered to our homes, vacuum cleaners clean our rugs, washing machines does our laundry and above all, we employ servants to take care of all other needs of the house and save time reassigning jobs to others. We love our way of life thinking of all the time saved due to the evolution of machines and technology but scarcely do we think about compensating for the movement saved through the entire course of the day!
The richer and economically stable, the lesser work and household chores that you do. Our ancestors had to hand-grind idli/dosa batter or clean up the entire house before festive seasons. Now, we buy batter from outside and delegate work to cleaning apps to refurbish our homes. Maybe, we are failing from losing 200-300 calories in this process of delegation! Our pride might grow up and instantly all of you might come up with bombarding replies that involve going to the gym for a workout, hitting the roads for a morning jog/walk or even shaking your hips for Zumba. There is even the birth of activity trackers such as Fitbits that help us move more but we need more efforts to reverse all the lost hopes. Exercise is not an option or a choice but is necessary to keep us healthy and safe. We need to find out ways to accomplish this task in life that’s not going to reward us with money but do something much more-a better quality of life.
Restart Your Active Lifestyle
Sedentariness is the root cause of a multitude of health problems right from obesity and heart disease to depression and high blood pressure. More than the type of exercise done it depends on our approach, how we perceive daily activities and work. Even those you don’t even consider as workouts can help in improving your well-being (https://time.com/5550764/light-exercise-heart-health/). A new study even shows that compared to women who exercise less those who achieve fulfilling more periods of light physical activity are at a 42% reduced risk of dying from coronary problems and a 22% lesser risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Exercise includes all that we do from the time we get out of bed to the time we tuck into bed to sleep-moving around the house, combing hair, gardening, hanging clothes, walking back from the grocery shop and walking to the parking lot to get onto the bike-all of them count as exercises. We have lost hours of physical activity from daily household chores such as washing clothes and mopping floors that we have reached such a state that’s overruled by obesity and diabetes. Sometime back we got a study result that sitting continuously for hours together is bad for health and companies and employers came up with the idea of standing desks but these too were overruled by yet another study that gave away the disadvantages of such desks. Again, people have resorted to sitting down and working. We live in an era where we need not leave our cubicles for anything except nature’s call, a desktop and a smartphone are more than enough to complete our jobs and we do have the freedom to eat at our desks. Hence, there are some people who hardly stay active for more than 15 minutes in their 9-hour timeframe at work. Get off the message from your brain that a sweaty workout or a kick-boxing session is the only way to stay active. Include activity as a part of your daily life without which you cannot surely accomplish daily activity needs-working out at least for 150 minutes a week. Take a walk while talking over the phone, go for walking meetings that also helps you breathe fresh air, do exercises while watching television, do your own laundry, take the stairs instead of the elevator and try to use public transport for commuting-this gives you quite enough time to walk, flex your bones and muscles, decrease pollution and increase sustainability.
The real solution to health is in movement. Doing exercise for 45 minutes at the start of your day and sitting sedentary for the rest of the day will not bestow you with benefits. Of course, the 45 minutes of exercise does have a positive impact on health but its not going to change the fact that you are sedentary for the rest of the day thereby increasing your risk of a number of illnesses and studies do prove this right. We are not like our ancestors who toiled hard in the farm for their living. We work in offices where getting out of the desk seems to send out signals to superiors that the employee is not concerned with his/her work, forget about stretching yourself or going for a short walk every couple of hours. But its yourself who needs to motivate your body. Forget about others opinions and thoughts. You prepare a to-do list and start acting accordingly. Maybe you can even set an alarm every hour to get up and workout for five minutes. Others might alienate you initially but your energy and aura are surely going to bring about a change in your entire work floor and benefit all. Take a coffee break where you go for a quick walk around your office and use your lunch break to do a few yoga poses. It might seem intimidating initially but the benefits are beyond the embarrassment sustained.
So, rather than thinking about taking up weight loss as a New Year Resolution or going for a gym membership at the start of every new year, maybe it’s time to incorporate quick movements all through the day to help you stay active, stress-free and even happier.
Exercising is great but even light activities like walking and housework can improve your health: https://time.com/5438387/exercise-guidelines-benefits/
Why exercise alone won’t save us: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jan/03/why-exercise-alone-wont-save-us
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