Working out… the truth is most of us don’t really enjoy it. We do it because we’re supposed to, for our health. There are definitely benefits to working out. It’s especially helpful if you want to learn new movement skills or build muscle. It’s also helpful if you have specific performance goals. Every January thousands of people resolve to workout every day. They join gym and dutifully show up the first few weeks. By March the gym is pretty much back to it’s regulars. Almost all of the resolutioners have fallen off. If people enjoyed working out this wouldn’t be the case, would it?
What If You Could Move More Without Working Out?
I don’t want to talk you out of working out. As I said above, there are real benefits to working out. But there may be a better way to start moving more, that is easier to fit into your life. I think one of the key things glossed over about getting healthier is that you should enjoy your movement. We all have to do enough things we don’t want to do. Improving your health shouldn’t be one of them.
I used to love going to the gym and grinding out a workout. Those days are behind me. These days, I prefer to work movement into my days in little ways and with little micro workouts. My workouts have become much more like playtime than working out. In the video above I offer some little things you can do to get more movement every day. I also explain that getting more movement into your daily life requires a perspective shift. One that can bring some fun back into your movement.
Start looking at your environment differently. We’ve sanitized our urban environments to the point where all of our movement is very basic and similar. There are flat, easy to navigate sidewalks. There’s nothing to duck under or step over. Stairs instead of inclines limit ankle and often hamstring/glute use. There is nothing to climb on or over. And balancing while moving is a lost skill. All of this is for the sake of ease of travel and safety. The problem is, if we never use these skills, we lose these skills.
So, step one is rely on the car less. Use your feet whenever you can. Next, start to find ways to make your environment interesting as you walk. Invent movement complexity! This can start off as simple as walking on the grass next to the sidewalk. You’d be amazed how every foot fall is different on the grass right next to the sidewalk. If you shift your perspective and find ways to explore your environment as you travel you’ll have less need to workout. You’ll also have the added benefit of spreading your movement throughout the day instead of cramming it into a few hours a week.
But most importantly, have fun with this! Movement should be fun! You may get some odd looks as you climb walls, walk in the grass, balance on curbs, and swing from trees. But you will also get healthier and maybe inspire others to not worry so much about what others think so they can start to enjoy movement again too.