David and I recently attended a book launch – the author of the book promoting a more natural approach to fitness, as opposed to artificial, ‘gym-type’ training. One series of questions he put to his audience was this: “What are you really getting from running on a treadmill? What’s your end goal? Is this really making you fit?”
He went on to suggest incorporating more exercise into daily life. For example, he has a rope tied to a tree outside his house and every couple of hours, he leaves his computer station and heads outside to shin up and down it a few times to get his body moving and release any muscle tightness.
“Lucky him”, some of the audience members were thinking. “I’d love to be able to do that, but I work in the middle of London in an office on the 16th floor. That’s not exactly an option for me”.
At the end, the author asked if there were any questions. There were several, most along the lines of, “I work eight hours a day at a desk. I also have a family and my travel time to and from work is an hour each way. What would you suggest for me? How can I work more exercise into my life?”
First of all, David and I are great believers in the practice of incorporating more movement into your daily lifestyle, rather than trying to just rely on finding extra time, in amongst the work deadlines, school runs and household chores, to sweat it out in the gym.
Second of all, we hear versions of the above question A LOT. People lead busy lives and exercise doesn’t just take a back seat – it gets forlornly left behind on the side of the road, waving miserably with the slim promise of getting picked up at a more convenient moment.
The essential key is to prioritise. Exercise isn’t immediately necessary – not like getting to work each day, or eating and sleeping. Therefore, it often gets pushed to the bottom of the “to do” list. Unfortunately, this will always happen until you decide to change it.
Take it from the bottom and move it right to the top. Make it a priority. Can you take the stairs instead of the lift? Are you able to get off the bus or train a few stops early and walk the rest of the way? How about sacrificing half an hour of television in favour of some useful movement?
Part of our role as trainers is to help you identify these opportunities, as well as advise you on how best to use this time effectively.
Commit to making the change and things will begin to happen!