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This is part 3 of “The three must do’s to start being healthier”. Today… EXERCISE!
I would like to focus this time on those people that do not do enough exercise, or that don’t do exercise at all. It is difficult to start, but once you start feeling the benefits, you won’t stop. The problem is that we cannot easily find our favourite sport or physical activity, so we don’t get engage.
But there is a big problem associated to the lack of physical activity. Even when we join a gym and we talk to the trainer and we are committed to go 5 days a week, we are still not getting enough physical activity. 5 days a week for about 1 hour or 1 hour and a half is, on a good week, 7 to 8 hours a week that these people do exercise. Taking into consideration that a week has 168 hours, what are we doing with the other 160 hours? If you want to see it with percentages, 8 hours a week is 4.7% of your time. It’s not even 5%!
Some experts recommend that we need 20 to 30 minutes every day, some others say 150 minutes a week of “medium intensity exercise”. But they do not say which kind of exercise we can do, or what is considered “medium intensity”.
We obviously cannot go all the way to the gym and spend 3 hours in a row every day, but we certainty can do much more than 8 hours a week. And even though the minimum recommended is 30’ a day, I encourage people to go beyond that. But how?
In the 21st century almost everyone in the first world has extremely easy access to cars or public transport and we avoid physically demanding jobs. This has its benefits, but ever since you became an IT expert you have put on weight and it is so difficult to lose it. And you think to yourself: When I was 20, I was studying full-time, working part-time in retail, going out every other weekend and I still had time and energy to go a play soccer with my friends and now, that I spend 40 hours a week sitting down at my desk, and have a family to take care of, I don’t even have time or energy to cook at home, let alone do exercise. But I do want to lose weight as soon as possible. As a trainer in Planet Fitness I get this kind of comments quite often.
One thing that I have noticed is that we do not do enough cardio activities, and you don’t need to go for a run every morning to get this cardio. Start by walking to places, if you live far away from work, school or gym and you don’t have many options but going by car or public transport, try to park a bit further away and walk the rest of the way or try to take off one stop before your destination. It’s as simple as that. Increase your cardio at home by cleaning the house or looking after your garden. You can even add some little exercises like 10 squats, 10 push ups on the wall, 10 little jumps. Did you know that 1L of water is the equivalent of 1KG? Imagine if you put sand instead. With simple things like a bottle, you can make a dumbbell to do triceps extensions or biceps curl. How simple and cheap!
This is especially for the ladies that are very scared of lifting weights because they don’t want to get bulky. Unless you are taking male hormones (testosterone) you will never get bulky. You will look amazingly fit and toned, that’s all.
Now, we all know all that, but… how can I start doing exercise? I hate gyms, I don’t like running, I don’t have time or money, how many excuses do you have?
Let’s debunk all these myths.
“I hate gyms”. You don’t need a gym to do exercise. You just need some attitude and at least 20-30” a day. Let’s go for a walk (trying to go fast) in that beautiful park around the corner from your house, do some squats holding something a bit heavy like a backpack with a couple of books, do biceps curl with that 1L bottle of water, maybe do some push-ups against the wall if doing them on the floor is too challenging. How much money, space and time do you need for that?
“I don’t like running”. Who says you need to run? I love running, but I love walking or riding my bike. There is a study that says that the best way to do cardio for an adult is jumping on a trampoline. Have you ever tried it? It’s so much fun!
“I don’t have time”. Let’s do an exercise. Take your phone, go to settings, look for screen time and see how long you spend on your different apps. I bet you spend more than 3-4 hours a day. What if you stop spending 1 hour scrolling down on Facebook or Instagram and start doing these little exercises at home?
“I don’t have money”. I agree, this is a valid excuse in some circumstances, but as I said before, we don’t need a gym or expensive equipment to start doing exercise. Hopefully, this mentality changes so we can make the physical activity one priority for our health!
The extra “must do” today is taking care of our mental health. I am sure that once you start following the first 3 steps your mental health is going to improve right away, but there are some things sometimes that are a big load. If you want to learn a bit more about this, stay with me and I will let you know in future posts. Have you ever heard about minimalism to improve your mental health…?
See you next Sunday!