Thursday, March 03, 2005

Sedentary is normal

Over the past week or so I've had a couple people comment about me exercising too much. While it's true that I do exercise more now than I used to, and theoretically it eats into my free time, the only thing I really notice is that I don't do as much tidying during the week (sorry Stirling) and I have less time to watch TV. Not really so much of a hardship. I'm also spending significantly less money on gas because I'm riding my bike to work, and I feel great. I still cook dinner most nights of the week (with Stirling's help), I work normal hours, and visit with friends a couple times a week. It's not like I've turned into some elite athlete, training for hours every day, eating weird food and stuff.

In fact, I'm averaging only slightly more than the amount of activity that Health Canada says you need every day - 60 minutes. Bike to work 3-4 times a week, a couple of pilates classes, lift some weights, the odd squash game, jog on Saturday morning. Really, it's not that much. But I won't argue that I currently exercise more than everyone I know. So in that sense, I am abnormal.

But think back to when you were a little kid. Didn't you play outside for at least 15 minutes for every recess (that's twice a day) then maybe for longer at lunch? Didn't you walk or ride your bike to school? Didn't you play outside until dinner, and after dinner in the summer? Didn't you have afterschool sports that lasted at least an hour? Doesn't that all add up to way more than what I currently do? Yup, it sure does. I miss recess. (And apparently, kids are now sedentary too.)

Somewhere along the line, most of us have kind of lost perspective on how active we need to be. We find ways to fill our days that allow us to say "I don't have time for exercise". But - reality check - those things that you do, that take up so much time that you don't have time to exercise - are they so important that they're worth sacrificing your health for? (These things often have names like "CSI", "Survivor","Worlds of Warcraft", etc. Home reno - for all my friends who are in reno hell - COUNTS as activity, even though it's not necessarily fun activity)

This is turning into a bit of a rambling rant and I didn't really mean it to. Anyone who cares to discuss - why is it so hard for people (especially tech/office workers) to work some activity into their days? Is TV really that much more fun than a game of squash or volleyball or a walk on a sunny day? If you're not getting enough exercise, why?

(Oh, and for future reference - if I ever fall off the exercise wagon again, please somebody call me on it. Remind me of how good I felt back in Spring '05, and guilt me back onto my bike/the squash court/the jogging trails/whatever.) And make me re-read this.


Anonymous ChowChow said...

I would hardly say that you're addicted to exercise, or that you're going over-the-board. From what I see, this fitness and food regime is not at all taxing on your lifestyle (although it has been harmful to our plants as our crinkled chrysanthemum can attest to).

I was at the doctor yesterday for my annual beans and weiner checkup, and we were talking about fitness. I could stand to lose 5-10lbs, and I mentioned to the doc that I was definitely feeling a little heavy on my feet during squash, and that this was my motivation for losing weight. He said that was a good way to approach weight loss, and that many people set target weights, change their lifestyle to achieve the weightloss, and then realize that they don't actually like the activities (hence, keeping the weight off is difficult). He said a good way to approach fitness is to look at the activities that you like to do (e.g., hiking, biking, skiing) and figure out how you'd like to improve your performance --- the weightloss, muscle building, etc. then follows and your body settles on an appropriate (and realistic) weight for those activities.

8:57 AM  

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