FITNESS MYTH NUMBER 4: RUNNING IS THE ONLY TYPE OF CARDIO

Hello everybody! Welcome back to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to help people find their way to a healthier lifestyle. I mostly talk about exercise and its science, which is my area of expertise, but I also talk about nutrition, sleeping habits and many other subjects related to wellbeing and healthy lifestyle. 

Happy New Year! How did you start your 2022? My husband and I woke up and went for a run. Just around 2.5 km, to kick start the new year, and fight the effect of a drink or two the day before. We felt so much better afterwards. But some people hate running, and therefore, they give up on doing cardio because there is this thought that running is the only way of doing cardio. In this first post of 2022, I want to debunk this myth, and hopefully make you feel better about choosing other ways to get more cardio done.

Worldwide obesity has increased by three times since 1975. Almost 2 billion adults around the world were overweight in 2016, 650 million were obese. This is 39% of adults were overweight and 13% obese. In Australia, 1 in 3 adults were obese between 2017 and 2018, an increase from 1 in 5 in 1995. This is, from 19% of adults suffering from obesity in 1995 to 31% in 2018. You can find all this data in the WHO (World Health Organisation) and the AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). 

Now, let me give you some ideas of cardio exercises other than running:

  1. Walking, bushwalk, or hiking.
  2. Swimming.
  3. Cycling.
  4. Rowing.
  5. Dancing.
  6. Boxing.

The following are cardio activities you might have not ever considered: 

  • Trampolines.
  • Playing team sports.
  • Playing racket sports.
  • Playing with your kids.
  • Playing with your pets.
  • Cleaning the house.
  • Gardening. 
  • Going to places by walk rather than by car or public transport. 
  • Stand up and walk around every hour.
  • Walk around the office while talking on the phone.
  • Send your printing to the furthest printer in the office (something my mother-in-law told me).
  • Go for a quick walk for 10-15 minutes before or after you have lunch.
  • Taking the stairs instead of the lift.

But wait, cleaning the house? Playing with the kids or pets? Walking to places? Gardening? Walking around? Aren’t those things we have been told that don’t add up? Things that our grandparents and perhaps parents did but we don’t need to do anymore because someone (or something) else are doing them for us? Could it be the reason why obesity and overweight have increased in the past years?

Nowadays, our focus is on our careers and making money, as well as staying posted with all the (mis)information we are constantly bombarded with in our phones (news, COVID, that guy from high school posting about their perfectly fake life). It’s fine to sit down for 8, 9, or 10 hours typing in the laptop, sending emails, calling and receiving calls, standing up just to go to the toilet, which is very conveniently located in the same floor so you can spend more time working rather than walking around, and of course, having lunch, most of the times in front of the laptop, and almost always from the vending machine, from a food delivery app, or from the café downstairs. After a hard day’s work and an intense online life like that, who feels like cleaning, playing with some annoying kids, or even less, going for a run?

While today we have that kind of lifestyle, our parents, grandparents, and even us when we were little used to walk everywhere, go to the park to play with our friends, help cleaning the house, run errands, spend recess playing or walking around. What if the answer to obesity and overweight was as simple as going back to that?

Today, the exercise recommendation for an adult is to hit 150’ of hard exercise per week (this is over 21’ per day), or 10,000 steps. There is no mention to resistance training, which I will talk about in future posts, and there is no mention to what type of cardio, and what we should do with the resting 9,930 minutes that our week has. Doing 21 minutes of cardio per day is simply not enough. If we spend the rest of the day sitting around and eating, we are in the way to keep putting on weight, with the consequences that obesity comes along with. 

On my post “Fitness myth number 1: I don’t have time” I talk about this excuse many people make to avoid doing exercise.

Nonetheless, there are some people that virtually do not have time to do any exercise because they work long hours and/or they have families to look after. For these people, it’s really important to understand that doing exercise and particularly doing cardio does not require sacrificing an hour to go for a run, it’s just about adjusting that busy lifestyle and realising how much cardio they are actually doing when they do things like playing with their kids. 

On top of all this, there are fitness gurus who complicate things even more. They give us the wrong information, sending messages like “do 4 or 5 hours of training every day to be healthy”, or “running is the best and only way to do cardio”, or “no pain no gain”, showing us difficult exercises that they do and making everyone feel bad about doing much less than that. These people make their living from this, their office is the gym, it’s their job to stay fit and show you what they do, but it doesn’t mean the rest of us must do likewise, especially when our only goal is to be healthy.

In my post “Fitness mistakes number 1: imitate Instagram fitness gurus” I talk about this subject check it out!

That’s it for today! I really hope that you enjoy the first post of the year. If you like what I do and you want to support this project, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, like the post and comment. If you want me to talk about a particular subject or give me a feedback, contact me by email: sanchisayslifestyle@gmail.com

Thank you!

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