I often write about getting back to basics, such as eating close to nature and minimalist workouts. In a world as complex and complicated as ours, simplicity can be a welcome change from the hurried, overscheduled lives we face.
Exercise is no exception to this rule; if we are not overwhelmed with getting our workouts started, we increase our chances of following through. Keep your workout—and attitude toward it—simple will increase your chances of success in your fitness journey.
Our prehistoric ancestors never had a problem with obesity. They didn’t eat packaged pastries and they didn’t belong to gyms. Our cave sisters didn’t count calories or obsess about dieting. They were in motion all day long and fortunate enough to enjoy a meal only when it ran or swam by close enough to catch. In many ways, life was more complicated for our predecessors in times fraught with uncertainty and danger, but in other ways, they lead very simplistic lives free of superfluous media distractions and societal influences.
Of course now with the advent of all modern conveniences, we are not required to chase and hunt for our food. America loves the Drive Thru and we sit for endless hours behind our computers. However, if we can implement even minor strategies for returning to more simplistic lives, we can increase our basic level of fitness without trying too hard.
Exercise Your Way out of the Cubicle
Rather than sending an email or text to your coworker across the office, get up out of your cubicle and walk down the hallway to deliver the message personally. Not only will you benefit from stretching your legs, you will be working toward burning off your morning’s Starbucks Skinny Latte. Add a lap or two around the office every hour as part of your morning routine to increase the benefit. Take the stairs in and out of your building, even if it means putting on your heels after you arrive at your desk.
Walk, Walk, Walk Whenever Possible to Errands
Our cavewomen ancestors didn’t have vehicles to run their errands; they relied on their own personal two wheels. For two weeks, try walking to as many errands as possible. Try to implement a new healthy habit by walking to the supermarket, walking to pick up the kids from school, walking to retrieve your dry cleaning, or even walking to Sunday morning brunch as a family. Every step brings you closer to greater fitness.
Increase the Intensity of Your Housework
While Homo Erectus’ responsibilities may have included cleaning the cave, our floors and windows are dependant on us. The other day while on my hands and knees cleaning the tile in the kitchen, I couldn’t help but think of the original Karate Kid’s Mr. Miyagi and Danielson with their “wax on, wax off” routine. If you have ever used Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers, you will appreciate what it means to really put your arms into cleaning. With Erasure in one hand, dry rag in another, and bucket in tow, my shoulders were feeling the burn as I scrubbed. Did I mention my grout looks amazing?
Start a Garden This Spring
Here’s a healthy idea. Like our ancestors, you can harvest some of your own food. Not only will you benefit from eating homegrown organic vegetables, you will burn calories while caring for your garden patch. Weeding, hoeing, shoveling, and planting a garden are all activities that require movement. Enlist the kids to help so they can appreciate growing their own food, too!
While I am not suggesting we permanently give up our iPhones or cars, I do believe the more simplistically we live, the more we enlist our own creativity and womanpower to get the job done. Try it for even one week. Cut back on modern appliances, machines, and conveniences and share with us what you did to get yourself more active.