As I was walking home from the library today (my temporary source of Internet access) cars zoomed past me and people gave me strange looks when I passed them at the stoplights. It got me thinking to how much the world has changed in terms of lifestyle and how convenience has , to a certain degree, ruined our lives and health.
There were times when no one did anything but walk if their destination was within walking distance. Horses were designated for longer journeys (and by longer I mean days travel on foot), Then we upgraded to bicycles and those were pretty handy for when you needed to get somewhere in a hurry. There are still cultures where bicycles are the primary mode of transportation, and I think it’s really a great solutions. But I’m getting of track here.
There were days where all food was locally grown and home cooked. It was hard to transport food longer distances so you had to make do with what you had available right there. There were no chemical preservatives or flavor enhancers – just plain old real food. All the animals were humanly raised and lived off the land – so the meat wasn’t half bad either. People didn’t have to make a conscious effort to make “good food choices” because that was all that was available.
In todays times people jump in their car instead of walking five minutes to the nearest store. They buy frozen, pre-packaged conservative laden meals because they’re easy to prepare. Or they skip the preparation process all together and go out to a fast food because a) the food is cheep, b) it’s so chemically laden it’s addicting. And then we wonder why we have a problem with obesity and bad health in so called “westernized countries” and why we have to worry about our diet and fitness regime.
I might be putting myself out on a limb here, but I’d dare say that having a generally active lifestyle will do more for your health and overall fitness then sitting down all day and pumping out an hour at the gym every day. I know that strength training and cardio are two vital elements of good health and fitness, but I think being generally active has a part in there as well. Of course, we all have days when all we feel like doing is vegging out on the couch and watching TV , and that’s healthy as well. But I don’t think we’d have to worry so much about getting in a “work out” every day if we just made little changes to our lifestyle.
80% of my exercise comes from walking. Especially now in the summer – walking is pure joy! If I have the time I’d much rather walk somewhere then take a bus. It’s eco-friendly for one, and it’s such a good way to get in some movement and still get somewhere. I don’t have a bike at the moment, but if I did I would totally bike as well. Since I have struggled with an exercise addiction in the past (more on this in another post) I try to not get to compulsively attached to any form of exercise, or feel like I HAVE to do it every single day. Walking doesn’t seem to affect me in that way. I do it when I feel like it, I don’t do it when I don’t. I don’t do it to burn calories or fight fat – I do it because it’s enjoyable, cheap (you have no idea how much I must have saved on bus tickets over the months) and it makes me feel good.
The other 20% of my fitness regime is yoga, zumba, occasional running and strength training. Running and strength training are forms of exercise that have become compulsive for me in the past so I need to consciously keep them in moderation, although I really enjoy both. My main motto is – if I REALLY don’t feel like it – I don’t do it. One morning I went out for a run and about 15 minutes into it I stopped. It was sheer torture – I had no energy, no drive, no inspiration and felt dizzy and weak. That afternoon I started feeling sick, and obviously my body had needed the extra rest. I enjoy exercise when I feel energized, the adrenalin is pumping through me, I feel powerful and alive. That’s when I KNOW I’m doing the right thing for my body, because it feels so great.
Alright this was somewhat of a wordy post, but I obviously have a lot to say on the issue. Now it’s over to you.
What are you opinions on the matter? Is an overall active lifestyle more important then going the gym everyday?
What does your fitness regime look like?