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Exercising Without Exercising - Calming Your Inner Gecko

Posted Sep 12 2008 8:20am

I don’t like to exercise - think it’s unnatural. Now I’m sure that comment raises the cackles of many among you, but let me explain:

My theory is that exercise, as it is performed today, simply can’t be comprehended by the mind - hence the problem so many people have with it. It’s not willpower as much as we are fighting an innate, hardwired, genetic predisposition for expending our energy in a worthwhile manner.

Take running on a treadmill. Intellectually, we understand heart-rate calculations, calories expended, etc. But the part of our brain that is about as intelligent as a gecko says: “Why the hell am I walking but I’m not going anywhere?!?”

It’s the same thing with weight training. Lift a weight up. Put a weight down. Lift a weight up. Put a weight down. Your internal gecko is saying: “Why am I lifting this up over and over!?”

You can push through your internal gecko, ignore him or her, and actually get into exercise. I don’t have the time, nor can I handle the cognitive dissonance that occurs.

What I try to do is exercise without exercising. Exercise without exercising happens while you are doing something else. We live in a time where people hire someone to mow their lawn so they can go to the gym and run on a treadmill - when they could have gotten the exercise at home and saved the money.

Are we really that absurd a society? Yes. Now if you are into numbers - counting things - this will drive you wacky, but I think all that counting just stresses you out. It doesn’t matter if you walked 22 minutes one day and 44 minutes the next - what matters is: how do you feel? Losing weight? Are you happy?

If you can’t imagine exercising without the numbers, without milestones and markers, then this advise is not for you. But if you are one of those people like me that just can’t get into a traditional exercise routine, here’s some suggestions:

  • Sports of any kind. Jeez - even ping-pong is better than nothing. Playing along with ‘Wheel of Fortune’ on TV is not a sport.
  • Park in the furthest parking space from the store you are going to. An added benefit is no one will ever compete with you over your parking spot.
  • Stairs. I got kids, and the chaos that ensues from the forgotten this and that makes for extra trips up and down the stairs. Don’t let it irk you - think of it as exercise.
  • Take a walk. Take the kids for a walk. Take a walk with your wife or husband. Take the dog for a walk - the dog is getting fat too.
  • Never take an elevator unless you are in a 60-story high rise and climbing the stairs will make you sweaty and 45 minutes late for your appointment.
  • In an office, get up and walk over to a coworker to ask a question rather than sending an email. Every step counts.
  • Mow your own lawn. Obviously, if you have acres to mow, this might be impossible, but many of us with homes have a lawn that is perfectly mowable - and don’t cheat and buy one that has a power drive. You are pushing it yourself, pal. And ladies - mowing the lawn is not gender-specific - and just like a lot of women think there’s nothing sexier than a man doing the dishes, the same goes for a woman pushing a mower.
  • Ride a bike, but not a stationary one. Ride somewhere. Don’t look at the speedometer, odometer or heart-rate monitor. Just try to enjoy the scenery.
  • Have things to do around the house? Don’t hire someone if you can do it yourself without fear of flooding, electrocution, or your house being condemned. You’ll get a workout and save money to boot.
  • How about Tai Chi or Yoga? Put aside any supposed spiritual aspects if that bothers you. They are exercise routines somewhat similar to isometrics but the routines can be calming to the mind. Skeptical? Try them out. Nobody’s going to try to turn you into a Moonie.

Filed under: Exercise, general health

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