I’m talking about the kind of exercise that you feel you should do in order to get/remain in good shape. The kind of exercise that you feel guilty not doing. The kind of exercise that you probably don’t enjoy.
Because I hate it, I don’t do it. And yet I still exercise; I just choose to exercise in ways that I enjoy.
The simple fact is this: there are an enormous number of ways in which you can be physically fit and enjoy it. If you hate the gym as much as I do, the following list will be absolutely invaluable. I can practically guarantee that you’ll find a physical activity below that you will enjoy doing.
The last post on Healthy Enough (before this one) was published on 3rd June 2014 – over three years ago.
Three years is a long time. Whether you’re a longtime Healthy Enough reader or new to the blog, you might wonder where I’ve been for the past 38 months or so.
I’d say you’re right to wonder, and that you deserve an explanation. After all, I’ve set a high bar in terms of what I want to achieve with this blog – given that I’ve been absent for so long, why should you treat me seriously?
At least, that’s how I see it. I’m 6’1″ and a notch or two under 200lbs. Consult a BMI chart and I’m technically overweight, but I feel pretty healthy, and I’d rather trust my own subjective measure than one so simplistic as BMI.
But here’s what I’m not: what most guys want to be. You know – toned, lean, buff, head-turning. And I wish I was, as many of us do.
If you go to any gym these days (perish the thought), chances are you will see that the vast majority of people are wearing headphones. And while most people may think that listening to music while exercising is great for passing time and breaking up the boredom, it actually has a much stronger effect that few are aware of.
In fact, music can be so powerful that wearing headphones and using mobile music devices was banned by the national governing body for running, USA Track & Field, because of the competitive advantage it gives runners.
I have a vivid memory of finding out about serial killers when I was a child. The notion that I could be killed, seemingly at random, was terrifying.
My discovery of the concept of death and its seemingly random nature came as a shock, as perhaps it did for you in your youth. However, what many adults don’t fully appreciate is just how much control we have over our own mortality. While it can be all too easy to sit back and accept that death will come for you when it is good and ready, it is likely that the time of your death will be determined, at least in part, by you.
These guidelines would appear to be unrealistic for most of the population, as suggested by the evidence that just one in five Americans meets the prescribed amount. However, even if you don’t feel capable (physically or mentally) of completing that much exercise in a given week, one health expert I recently spoke to claims that there are a myriad of benefits to moving just a little more than you are now.
It is a sad truth that many of us have been conditioned to accept a certain false reality when it comes to health and fitness. That false reality is a construct of the health and fitness industry, or more specifically, unscrupulous types who have a commercial interest in misleading us.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Healthy Enough is a destination for anyone who believes that there is a better way to live healthily than what fad diets and outrageous exercise regimes demand. Read my manifesto and discover if Healthy Enough is for you.
If you think that our manifesto sounds like a good way to live, subscribe to the blog via the sidebar, and check out my About page if you haven’t already.
While the title of this article was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek, it does contain an element of truth. How so? Because when it comes to losing weight, your diet is far more important than the amount of exercise you do. Not only that, but when it comes to your weight loss efforts, exercise can be a complete waste of time if you overcompensate with your diet.
Don’t get me wrong – enjoyable exercise should be a part of your life, but it is not the panacea for healthy living. Growing evidence from scientific studies show that if you attempt to lose weight only by exercising more, you’re likely to fail. Meanwhile, attempting to lose weight with dieting alone has a far greater success rate.
So remember this: exercising more is not an excuse to eat more. If you treat it as such, you’ll probably find that you lose no weight (or even put weight on as you eat more additional calories than you burned off). Increasing the amount of exercise you do should be seen as a boost to your weight loss/management efforts, not an excuse to binge.
That’s all very well and good, but trying to adhere to such strict and measured guidelines is not a sustainable means of staying in shape for many of us. In fact, being subject to such perceived pressure can in fact have the opposite effect (i.e. “If I can’t do that, I might as well do nothing”).
I believe that in order to create sustainable exercise habits, you could benefit from ignoring government recommendations and focusing on something else altogether.