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Working out vs. Being Active
During the 70’s there’s was a bodybuilding boom. Weight lifting came into vogue and every guy wanted to look like Arnold. Then came the aerobics revolution. Cable networks would air them every day at a specific hour, or you could buy the VHS tapes that made a lot of people multi-millionaires. Now we have the CrossFit revolution, spinning classes like Peloton and Soul Cycle, and the old fashioned gym memberships.
Fads have engrained in us that you need special equipment, in a special place, during a specific period of time to get fit. Trends have sold us that we need six packs and shredded legs to feel good.
Furthermore, modern life has a tendency toward more and more comfort: food delivered straight to our homes, supermarket shopping done for us, automated cars that will take us right to the door of wherever we’re going, and unlimited entertainment that gives us little reason to leave our living rooms.
Here’s where it gets dicey. Modern life also demands more productivity from us. Longer work days, restless work weeks and soul-sucking commutes are the norm. Work has taken over your every waking hour.
It’s not surprising that over 90% of people quit the gym after 3 months. Only about half that remain go regularly. Over 50% of Americans don’t get the minimum required daily exercise. And how could they? The system is rigged against you!
If the only way to be healthy is to make time to hit the gym, but your work life is so stressful that all you want to do during breaks is get comfortable (to reduce stress)—no wonder so many people aren’t getting the exercise they need!
Don’t work out. Adopt an active lifestyle!
A paradigm change is overdue. It’s time to shift our focus from getting fit, to just being active. What’s the difference?
Working out is blocking a specified amount of time during your day to exercise. It means you’ll stop what you’re doing, have a change of clothes, go to an exercise-friendly place, and do your workout.
Having an active lifestyle, however, takes exercise and blends it into your personal situation, your habits and your surroundings. It’s about making physical activity a natural part of your daily routine. It’s embedded into your schedule. It takes advantage of all the opportunities to be active that your surroundings offer. It doesn’t need special equipment or a special workout location—your world is your gym!
How does an active lifestyle look like?
What’s beautiful about having an active lifestyle is that you can continue to enjoy your current habits. There’s no real sacrifice in time because it’s embedded into your every activity. For example:
- You take the stairs instead of the elevator every chance you get
- You work standing up
- You have your Uber drop you off a few blocks before your destination
- You park as far as you can so you get a chance to walk a little
- You don’t always take the shortest walking routes
- You take phone calls standing up
- You walk anywhere that makes sense
- You do a few squats while you microwave your coffee
- You do a few push ups before you write up an email
- You carry your own groceries
- You go on walking meetings instead of sitting at boardrooms
- You get up frequently to fill up your small water bottle (big ones keep you at your desk)
There are endless opportunities during your day to squeeze in a little activity. The more you do it, the better you feel, the more you want to do it. And since you’ve embedded physical activity into your existing routine, it’s easy to remember to get active at multiple times during the day.
How will you adopt an active lifestyle?
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