Do not just workout but also stay physically active the whole day long
Before you search my ass for one helluva kick for having made such a fitness blasphemy, go through this one and then let me know…
Taking a look back at the start of human civilization, our life used to be so active that there was no need to exercise. Men mostly took to hunting animal for food while women gathered fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. for food, looked after the infants, etc. Nevertheless, they were both strong, muscular and fit. They had to literally fight against predators for their survival then. They had no option but to toil hard for food. Some tribes that haven’t yet caught up with modern civilization are still known to chase animals for food for miles which itself speaks about their physical endurance. Research indicates that paleolithic man had very little to no risks of cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle disease like metabolic syndrome, diabetes, etc. that is prevalent today.
Even with the advent of agriculture, he had to toil hard and earn his food. Just go to countryside areas and have a look at those farmers. They may not be huge and muscular due to lack of proper nutrition and poverty but you’ll never find an ounce of excess fat on their body but, as technology leaped forward and civilization marched towards modernization, our life got too easy and sedentary. This called for more lifestyle disease out of sheer disuse of our physical capacity.
In this article, we’ll see how we can approach all-round fitness at various levels in our life. Now, why think of fitness at various levels? Isn’t an hour of workout good enough? The answer is no, it will lower your cholesterol levels, burn calories and help you lose fat but on a long run, our bodies aren’t designed to be active for an hour a day and then stay almost inactive throughout the day. On a long run, an hour of workout is nullified by hours of bum spent at your desk. Then, am I supposed to workout for long hours? Yes and no. Today, our life has become so busy and sedentary (the paradox of modern life) that we have to scoop out time to move our body and term it as workout.
But we can’t lift weights, play squash or run for hours together – it will result in loss of muscle mass, raised level of cortisols (stress hormones), fatigue and injury on a long run. So, what do we do to keep active? We need to include activities of sustainable and varied intensities to our day. That’s it!
Extremely intense activities like sprints can be done once or twice a week.
Heavy exercise like strength training (resistance training with heavy weights), bodyweight training, yoga/stretches are to be limited to twice or thrice a week. Any more than that will be too taxing our system. If you are able to do them daily, then perhaps you need to increase the level of difficulty. You can also include leisure activities like golfing, shopping, sports, household work, loitering on foot etc. to add to your physical activity.
Aerobic activities are highly essential for an all-round physical fitness. So, activities like swimming, biking, brisk walking, running, hiking, tennis, basketball can be done up to a total of 30 minutes per day for 3-5 times a week,
Daily physical activities like taking the stairs instead of elevators, walking down to the parking lot, gardening and household chores, walking your dog, etc. are efforts to keep us active on a daily basis.
No exercise is a lesser activity but every activity has a limit in covering all aspects of fitness. As in stretching is such a relaxing activity but it can’t outweigh weight training in building endurance or gaining muscle mass while weight training itself can’t outweigh sprinting as an intense locomotive activity. Achievement of fitness can be made well-rounded and interesting by adding various activities of your interest to literally every step of life. Don’t aim to just workout but also to stay active always.