Going to the gym is hard. Getting in shape is hard. Being fit and healthy is hard. All of these are thoughts and ideas we have around health and fitness. In order for any of them to be true, we have to assume the following: It is hard to be fit and the only way to be fit is to do something hard. I am not going to say that it is easy to get fit and healthy, but I am going to tell you that it is much easier than what we believe it to be.
Despite what you may see in the media, your body wants to be healthy. Your body wants to be fit. The definitions of healthy and fit can seem rather far out of reach. We think that being fit is having a muscular physique and little to no fat. Speaking from the point of view of your body, muscle is an expensive tissue when we think about energy. Your body likes muscle, but only to a certain point. After the point of excess muscle becomes taxing on the body in terms of joint forces and the pure amount of calories you need to ingest. Please be clear here that most of the sedentary population does not have this much muscle. I make this point to have you start to question the bodybuilding type physiques that we admire and think to be pinnacles of health. There is far more to this equation than mere muscle mass. If we pull away from this idea we can grow to accept that Atlantean physiques are not required for fitness or health. It is far more about function. How mobile are you? How much endurance do you have? Most longevity groups spend the majority of their day in constant motion, not in high intensity fitness classes.
So if we no longer need to attain such extreme physical standards, then perhaps the methods of improving physical health and fitness don't need to be extreme either. The major reason we have to supplement our days with exercise is due to the overwhelming sedentary aspects of our normal lifestyles. If we would adapt more of the lifestyle to have reduced sitting, we would not need to compensate as aggressively with exercise. You can find more on this idea in The Sit Less Mindset article. Am I implying that we can eliminate exercise? No, it is doubtful that we would be able to completely eliminate the need for any exercise. Given the increased automation of society and our trend toward further automation, we will need even more exercise, unless we make a change. If we can adapt our mindset around what is the right and good thing to do versus the easy thing to do, we can easily find an infusion of movement in our lives. It doesn’t have to be difficult or extreme. It does, however, need to start as soon as possible.
If you are interested in how you can start adapting this for yourself, the first place to start is your mind. You have to be honest with yourself and define what health and fitness means to you. If you think that health and fitness is having a six pack and your belief is that its torture to get a six pack, you are very unlikely to make the change. If you believe that health and fitness is being able to pick up your kids and go for a 3 hour hike without falling on the couch at the end of the day, you are far more likely to achieve your goal. Start with the mind and believe that the actions you start with are simple (if they aren’t you’ve made them too hard, simplify!). After that take the first small step toward fitness and health, a small step toward YOUR fitness and health. For more help check out the Start Small article. It takes time, but as your lifestyle fills with movement, it will become effortless. It is not about doing more, but sitting less. Change your beliefs around health and fitness and you change your longevity.