Quick quiz. How many muscles in the human body? 642! What are muscles designed to do? Move your body. How many muscles are used sitting on the couch? Slightly less than walking the dog around the block. Houston, we have a problem! Our lives, our work, our play, has gotten more and more sedentary these days (only so many can make it as professional dancers, athletes or air traffic marshals). Will we be known as the couch potato generation? Is there an answer?
Well, we think it’s to hit the gym, an hour at a time, until we crawl out on our hands and knees (then we go home and recover on the couch for the next 3). Is this the only way, or can we have better success in a more subtle (and frankly, more pleasant) way?
I’ve got a bit of a thing for cavemen (it’s not what you think!) – they offer us an insight into how we should move our bodies. Collecting wood for fires, scratching for roots and berries, chasing big hairy animals for food, dragging (big hairy) women around by their hair…these were all activities that had a purpose. They achieved a goal and were simply a necessity in life. Importantly, they kept the body moving. Fast forward a few millenniums, can we bring this into our daily lives? (You want to stay fast on your feet, try the dragging by the hair thing at home!)
How about this? Park as far as you can from the office/shops/gym. Take the dog around the block 2 or 3 times a day. Add music to the housework and shake your bootie at the kitchen sink. Clean the pool; rake/mow the grass; pick up the dog pooh; cut back the shrubs; when at work, walk to the toilets a few flights up and avoid the lifts at all costs.
You get my point, right? Move that body all through the day. Stats show that sitting without regular movement can kill you prematurely. Personally, I’d rather do the dishes than die young.
So, is there a place for gym? Sure, but not as the sole means of moving your body (studies show that gym-goers are typically sedentary the rest of the day because they’ve been to gym). And who decided on that magic number, 60 minutes? Who truly wants to spend the limited hours available to us outside of work, plodding on a treadmill, dropping weights on our feet or rowing nowhere fast?
The advice I offer my clients is this. Firstly, find an activity you LOVE to do and then do it as often as you can. Either that, or do something that gets you impressive results really quickly, like resistance training. As an example, it doesn’t take too much effort to build an impressive rack (I’m talking about men’s pecs here). Think about the effect this will have on the general, female population!
Another example is high intensity interval training – much harder work over a shorter duration gives you massive results and a whole lot of time left to do other important things with your life – like shaving your chest to show off those pecs better.
Bottom line – get your body moving, get your body into an activity you enjoy, keep it within what your body can tolerate and… move your bootie!
See you at the kitchen sink…