Fitness is an essential component to wellness, and it requires ACTION on your part. No amount of vitamins will replace the nutritious benefits of eating whole, healthy foods and no amount of walking on a treadmill will replace the invigorating health benefits of being active in the great outdoors. If you want to BE well, then you must ACT well. That means getting out and enjoying your life.
When many people think about fitness, they think about workout gear, going to the gym, and eating salads. However, that is a very limited approach.
One, salads don’t build muscle. But go to my IG account to learn more.
Two, movement should be a part of your daily routine, not something you have to schedule in. Think about your daily routine for a moment. How many opportunities do you have to MOVE your body through space throughout the day?
Three, walking is a potent medicine that is highly underutilized. It provides cross hemisphere brain exercise, lymphatic drainage, and musculoskeletal support. If you can add a weighted vest, it can turn into a truly potent exercise.
Four, walking alone is probably not going to get you the optimized health you desire, especially if you’ve already neglected movement for far too long.
Let’s face it, you might have made some bad choices. It is important when making changes in your life that you not berate yourself for your old behaviors, but rather, praise yourself for your new habits. Let each awareness be an opportunity for you to create the desired shift in your life.
How do we change? Invite your friend to take a scenic walk with you instead of meeting at a coffee shop. Do an extra lap around the mall and park further away from the doors to turn your shopping trip into something more. Plan your vacations around hiking, biking, or other activities that get you outside. Even just doing yard work on the weekends is a great way to start adding small doses of the medicine of movement.
These examples are what I call “activity” to achieve a certain level of fitness. They are not what I consider “working out” or “exercise.” That requires a much more strenuous effort, one which many people are afraid to attempt or don’t realize is actually necessary to make significant changes in body shape, size, and composition. Taking a casual walk or choosing stairs rather than an elevator are smart, healthy choices that increase your activity/movement level throughout a day. However, considering that as your “exercise” for the day, will end up leaving you disappointed and frustrated that you are not achieving your physical fitness/body weight/body image goals.
To get there, you need to play like a (healthy weight, metabolically normal) kid plays: high intensity, short explosive burst games like “tag” or pretty much any team sport that’s popular like baseball, soccer, basketball, and hockey. Suddenly, post-high school, everyone stops doing explosive sprint work and switches to “let’s stay on a stair stepper or elliptical for 2 hours while watching the news.” That’s just a big waste of time – inefficiency defined:
“Why spend 15 minutes doing something FAST to get RESULTS when I can waste 2 hours doing something SLOWLY and not get results?”
You want to balance your hormones, burn mega fat, build muscle, sleep well, and look toned? You need to add high intensity exercise such as lifting heavy weights, sprint work, HIIT, and even the “cult of CrossFit” into your life. (And, no, I am not a CrossFit member, but this is the principle behind many of their extreme success stories.)
The best part is, you can do most of it right at home once you know what you are doing, and a burst workout only takes 5-20 minutes for most people every other day to see far greater changes in your body than you will ever see by putting in longer hours on a treadmill.
When in doubt, hire a professional to teach you how to get started. You’d be amazed at what 1-3 months with a pro can do to accelerate your progress. There are a variety of local gyms or online trainers with their own apps ready to help you.