Early humans started as nomadic hunter-gatherers. That means we walked a lot.
About 10,000 years ago people started growing their own food and domesticating animals. While we weren’t constantly on the move anymore we still moved a lot. There was work to be done. No desk jobs. Lazy people died.
About 60 years ago urban planners decided it was a good idea to separate the places we live from the places we work and move between them in cars. Then, we invented the leaf blower. It’s been all down hill since then.
Today, people all over America get in their cars to go to the gym to get 30 minutes of exercise because their doctor says there’s a good chance they’ll have a heart attack if they don’t. These same people use a leaf blower and spend a crazy amount of time watch other people moving on T.V.
What are we thinking?
Our bodies were made to move.
Studies with sources ranging from the British Journal of Sports Medicine to the University of Missouri and Melbourne University agree that too much sitting and not enough moving is bad for our physical and mental health.
As a society, we’ve gone a long way to reduce the need to physically work. More of our jobs happen at desks, more of our leisure time happens in front of a screen. And then there is the effort we save with “labor-saving devices” but, at what cost?
Don’t get me wrong . . . I’m REALLY glad I don’t have to carry my laundry to the Potomac River and beat it on rocks every week – although I’m sure that would be very good exercise. But it might be worthwhile to reexamine some of the things we do and realize the true trade-offs involved.
The hardest part of a lifestyle change that includes more movement, is mental. We have to be conscious of our choices and their impacts. We have to question conventional wisdom and maybe do things differently than our neighbors. Minor changes can have a major positive impact.
How can we move our bodies more without adding something to our “to do” lists? Here are some ideas. Even if none of these hit the mark, take a few minutes to think about how you can incorporate more movement into your daily life.
- Identify one or more errand you can do without your car. I bet there is SOMETHING you can walk or ride a bike to.
- Get together with friends for a walk instead of for coffee or a drink.
- There’s always the old advice – take the stairs or park far away.
- Practice contracting different muscles while you sit or stand. No one needs to know.
- Get up from your desk ever 30 minutes to stretch or something. (Set an alarm on your phone or computer.)
- Turn off the T.V. Turn up the music and dance.