The Original Exercise
Believe it or not, but it wasn’t that long ago that people didn’t go to the gym as a part of their daily routine. Normally, the only people you would find in the gym would have been body builders and extreme athletes. Personal trainers and regular gym attendance gained a lot of momentum in the 1900’s. It wasn’t until 1968 that Ken Cooper introduced the word aerobics and increased the number of joggers in America from 100,000 to more than 30 million. This greatly benefited many people to get back in shape and prevent diseases. However, the obesity epidemic is still rising regardless of more joggers and increased people at the gym. We know that much of this has to do with our food but we can also look at our way of life.
Before the obesity epidemic, before monthly memberships, before jogging strollers, yoga classes, and before zumba…there were a lot of people who were in fairly good shape. They moved and “exercised” as part of their daily routine… Crazy huh? They kneaded bread, hauled water, hauled firewood, tended their fields and their gardens. Maintaining your life required that you move and lift heavy things. After a strenuous day of working physically, they would come home and what would they do for fun…tv, Xbox… Nope…they could read or sew… or often times they would play…doing something active… stick pulls, dances, arm wrestling…etc.
Oh what a glorious life! Yes, I imagine it was rather tedious at times. However, recognizing the body’s response to exercise, I imagine people were a lot less stressed out than we are today. When we include movement in our daily routine, as our ancestors did, we produce endorphins. Endorphins make us feel good. Have you ever finished up an especially hard run and had a wave of good sensation. You just feel good. That’s your Endorphins kicking in.
I believe it is extremely important to not just exercise but to find ways to include activity in our daily routine. It is understandable that this may be difficult for some depending on what your day looks like now.
Here’s some ideas to increase your daily activity:
Go for a walk: Walking is extremely good for you and enjoyable. At the end of the day, take some time to get outside and enjoy nature. Walking can calm you down and focus your mind as well as burn calories and get your body moving. Walking is a great “exercise” or activity because it is very low impact.
Create Family Traditions that involve movement: Of course I’m not saying get rid of family movie night. But get outside and have a family game night every once in a while. Growing up I watched the transition between kids playing “No bears are out tonight”, “American Eagle”, “Kick the can”…and various other activities that really got you moving to kids more commonly having movie parties, movie marathons, gaming parties, chillin inside playing on social media. I’m afraid with all of technologies wonderful advances we have forgotten to move as a society. I’m not saying these things are bad. They are good in moderation. But how I miss those days when you didn’t have to go to the gym because you were having so much fun and your fun involved moving. Some traditions to incorporate into your family could include:
- Family Basketball Night
- Evening walks
- Night Games
- Ultimate Frisbee
- Teach your kids how to play football, baseball, soccer…(whatever sport you want)
- Go Swimming
- Go for a Bike ride
- Go for a hike/walk up the canyon
- Play in the fall leaves
- Go sledding (and hike back up the hill)
- Go geo-caching
- Go to the park and let the kids run around…run with them or play horseshoes, Frisbee golf, or tennis
- Plant a garden
- Build a rock wall
- Go Huckleberry Picking
- Visit some caves
- Have a family Dance contest
- Learn a new skill : Dancing, gymnastics, ect…
- Wrestle together or have a stick pull, arm wrestling competition
I think you get the point. There is so much for us to do and enjoy. Not only are these things fun but they are great for us. Being healthy and fit doesn’t have to come from exercising every day. We can include things in our day to day lives that will keep us in shape. I’m not going to ignore obstacles in this life however. It may be hard to get much activity in when working at an office. There are things you can do though…like get one of these…or these… or get up every 30 minutes and walk around (depending on your boss).
You say you are too busy?…Well just do what you can. Moving is a great stress reliever. Make a plan. Figure out how you are going to move more today!
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