Hello everybody! Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoyed last week’s post about the benefits of having coffee and my first YouTube video.
This week I would like to bring the first of a series of myths that we all have heard about. Myth number one is “I don’t have time”.
Nowadays, nobody seems to have time to do exercise. We wake up, we go to work, we spend the whole day there, mostly siting down in an office, and when we come back home, we don’t have the stamina to put our running shoes on.
The 21st century has brought a lot of positive things. Technology is improving every day to make our lives easier; it’s doing for us everything that is keeping us away from doing what “matters”. There are robot vacuum cleaners, automatic irrigation systems, cooking robots, there are machines doing all the pick and pack process and even running entire warehouses, self-driving cars, customer service is not a real person anymore. And yet, we don’t have time to do exercise.
Technology has been a blessing. Thanks to my smartphone, I am able to get in touch with my family everyday even though they are in Spain and I am in the other side of the world in Australia. I can order my delivery right to the front door, I can buy gadgets from China and get them in a couple of days, thanks to technology I can write this post right now and you can read me.
On the other side of the coin, large portions of the population are spending an unhealthy number of hours on their phones. Around 66% of Australians have a smartphone, which is not much compared to the 85% in US, but we are expecting an increment of almost 10% by 2022, reaching around 75% of the population owning a smartphone. This can be something dangerous. The average screen time Australians spend on their phone is 5.5 hours. This is almost 30% of a day. Around 80% of this time, we spend it sending texts, meaning that we spend more than 4 hours texting.
Did you see yourself in those percentages?
I encourage you to check your own screen time. You can type it in your settings app on your phone, and you will see how long you spend and what are the apps you use the most. I bet you Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp are on the top 5. Is there really a lack of time or a lack of organisation?
Different studies say that we need to spend at least 30’ every day doing some sort of exercise from moderate to vigorous. What if you try to spend 30’ less scrolling down and instead you go for a fast walk, do some weights, do some core exercises or go for a bike ride?
Now this sounds good, we spend 30’ less on TikTok and we invest that time on exercising, but we find that running in winter is not pleasurable and the gym seems to be very far away or too expensive. Perhaps, that is the problem. We tend to think that the only way to do exercise is going for a run or going to the gym, but we do not realise that there are many different ways to include physical activity in our busy schedule.
Think of how far your workplace is from your house. If it is walking distance, why not going by walk? It might take 10-15 minutes each way, maybe 20, I can recommend you 100 audiobooks or podcasts that run for 20 minutes and will make that walk very entertaining. If you do the same thing to go back home, you are doing your minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day.
You live far away and going by walk is not an option? If you go by public transport, get off one or two stops before and walk the rest of the way.
You need to go by car? Try to leave the car a bit further away and walk the rest of the way.
More than 2 in 3 people in Australia drive their car to work. One study showed that considerable car use, this is, more than 10 hours per week, was associated with a 50% higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Other studies have found connections between car driving and higher rates of obesity. Driving to work was linked to 13% higher chances of obesity and driving more than 120 minutes per day was associated with 78% higher chances of obesity in Australia. Australia is 6th in the worldwide obesity ranking, with 67% of people older than 18 with problems of obesity or overweight. This is more than 12 million people, so obesity really is a problem.
Not to mention the more than 1000 people that die on the roads every year in Australia!
77% of Australians have sedentary jobs, meaning that they spend a minimum of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week sitting down on a chair. This number has increased because of the impact of COVID, and the workers are demanding to stay at home and work remotely perpetually. The opportunities to sit around is increasing with no sign of slowing down.
When you realise how important it is to stay active, you might think that this is a good thing, you don’t need to spend time getting ready in the morning or going to work and coming back, and you might have the good intentions of going for a walk first thing in the morning before to start working. This is a simple way to include some physical activity to your life.
Work muscle strength is vital for everyone, including women. Girls, we are not going to get bulky by doing weights, we don’t stop looking feminine, in fact, lifting weights will make you look sexy and healthy. I will share a post about the benefits of the muscle strength work, but just to mention a few today: it increases our muscle mass, it increases the bones density making them stronger, gives flexibility to our joints, provides balance to our body, gives elasticity to our skin, helps controlling our weight, among much more benefits.
Unfortunately, not everybody has an easy access to a gym. I will give you some ideas of how to build your own gym in future posts with very little investment. To start with, I encourage you to do this little routine using your own weight or things you can find at home. Do each exercise 3 times every day:
- Warm up: bring your knees to your elbows 10 reps each side. Try to do it faster once you are fitter.
- 20 squats. If you don’t know how to do squats or it’s really challenging, sit down and stand up 5 to 10 times.
- 10 push-ups. This exercise is not for everyone, but there are easier versions. You can start using the wall instead of the floor, then putting your knees on the floor, then doing half with the knees on the floor and half with the knees in the air until you get to do the normal ones.
- 10 “kettlebell”snatch each arm. Instead of a kettlebell, use something you can fill up with water. One later of water equals one kilogram of weight.
- Plank. Start with 15 seconds, then slowly build it up until you get to 1’ or so. Include some variations when you feel ready.
This routine will take you no longer than 20’. You can do it all together or you can spread the exercises throughout the day.
If your work is pretty much sitting down, try to stand up every hour and go for a little walk around. Yesterday, my mother-in-law told me that she send her paperwork to print to the farthest printer so she forces herself to move for a longer time. These little things may be the difference, find your own ones.
And voilà! You have reached your minimum of 30 minutes of exercise in a busy day like yours!
Sometimes is just a matter of habit. We are bombarded with these ideas of “the attitude is everything” and even though attitude does play an important role, this kind of propaganda will make us feel frustrated, it’ll make us feel worthless if we don’t have the attitude to do it. If you have never done exercise, you might find it difficult to start, so you will need to create the habit. If you google “how to create a new habit”, you will find a bunch of theories, like the one that says that you need 21 days. That is not true. Me and you are very different people, and we will have our own rhythm, and depending on the habit you want to get used to, it’ll be more or less difficult. For example, I always read 30’ in the morning while having my coffee. It took me 1 day to get that habit.
However, I am trying to do some meditation before going to bed. I have been trying for a long time now, but my brain doesn’t seem to get used to it. Do you see? Everyone is different, and what works for me might not work for you, but you need to try hard. We are not talking about doing something to entertain yourself, we are talking about one of the three MUST do’s to be healthy, we are talking about exercising.
Start with 2 days a week, then 3, then you’ll do 4 and one day, you’ll be doing 5 days without having to think of it, it will be natural and you’ll improve your life.
The last point I would like to discuss today is how we manage the spare time. What do you do when you have a day off? Try to include some sporty activities those days. Fight your laziness and put your Lorna Jane tights on, if the lack of time is your excuse, this can’t be your excuse today!