The purpose of exercise

December 17, 2009

There are many little bits of knowledge I teach to those that will listen. One that comes up again and again is the purpose of exercise.

The purpose of exercise is not to burn calories. Life is not meant to be an endless struggle to expel the more calories than you take in.

The purpose of exercise is to enjoy moving your body.

Suddenly, the idea of exercise stops being about the joyless fight against calories and becomes actual fun. Something you want to do, not something you should do. (In the Program, I talk a lot about things that we ‘should’ do, and how destructive they are to your goals)

As you move your body, your body naturally adjusts to help move your body in that way. If you ride a bike, your body shapes itself to help you ride a bike. In addition, the more active you are, the more active you want to be.

Exercise is a side effect of being alive and healthy, not something that’s tacked on when you’re in the mood and have the time. It’s something that you want to do, and feel lacking when you skip it.

The question then becomes; what’s stopping you from being active?

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Even more on exercise

November 26, 2009

After this last post, I got a few emails. One in particular stood out.

I won’t post it here, but the basic idea behind it was that doing these small things makes no difference to weight loss.

First off, there’s a bunch of research that suggests that doing a lot of exercise, sweating buckets and exhausting yourself doesn’t make much of a dent in your weight, but that’s a different thing.

Yes, doing 20 leg lifts while sitting at your desk when compared to a 30 minute workout means there is very little calories burned. Can’t argue with that. I can however argue with the reasons for these simple things throughout the day.

I’m in no way suggesting you’re doing these simple and easy things through your day to burn calories. That’s not the intent at all. First of all, the intent is to keep your body active and moving. To keep in your mind your goal. As I discuss in The Program keeping your goal in mind at all times helps you achieve it.

Secondly, doing many simple and easy things throughout your day can add up to burning more calories than a 30 minute gym session. Do you think, if you’re on your feet the whole day you need a 30 minute workout? Maybe for some toning and shaping, but unlikely for overall fitness.

If you happen to sit at a desk for 8 hours, or on a couch for 12, even doing a little extra movements helps. EVERY little bit helps.

Finally, doing these small things also helps with your motivation. For a 30 minute gym session, you need to find the time, get changed, and travel to the gym. This can be hard sometimes. Yet standing on one leg while you’re waiting in line is instantly available. You can just do it, no planning required. This means you can feel good because you did something rather than the usual ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’.

The present day human adult is the only being in creation that takes time out of their day to head to the gym and workout. Babies, children, and animals never do exercise just for the sake of exercise. They move and play as a normal part of their day.

So, guess who is healthier: modern adults who try to work out every day, or pre-technological people who only moved their bodies for work or fun?

Your body is built to move. In fact, you can’t be still. Your heart beats, your chest rises and falls as your breathe. So I encourage everyone to fully embrace the joy of movement. Moving should be a pleasure, not something to be avoided because it’s ‘too hard’.

So next time you think of doing some exercise, just do _something_. In fact, do something easy right now. Stand while you read the next blog post, lift your legs off the ground a few times, take a walk around the house. Go on!

Walk it off…

November 12, 2009

If you’ve ever played sport in school, or watched a team sport you might have heard the term “Walk it off”.

The ‘it’ they talk of is pain. A slight sprain, jar or other event that causes pain, but (usually) no lasting injury. Walking it off help to activate the body, get the hurt part moving and overload the pain sensations. It works wonders.

Going for a walk helps for all kinds of ills. My father, in his 80’s, still walks every single day. It’s about the only regular exercise he gets, and he’s still fit and healthy. You don’t have to walk fast, or long, just remember that every little bit counts.

More on exercise

November 3, 2009

If you’re part of the Butterfly Transformation Program you’ll know that I encourage all kinds of exercise. Not some horrible, hours long, sweat covered and tiring jym session, just plain old simple movement.

These movements might be just standing in line on one leg, or leaning against a wall on more of an angle than usual. Simple things, easy things. I’m not a big fan of a huge requirement to exercise. The more that’s needed to get started, the less you do.

Some of my most common suggestions for a little extra exercise every day are things like:

Parking the car further from the office.
Walking to the shops rather than driving.
Using a carrier rather than a trolley when shopping. (this also stops buying too much)
Taking the stairs instead of the lift.
Sitting on a swiss ball rather than chair.
Sitting without using the backrest.
Watch TV standing up. (Also helps cut down on TV!)
Watch TV and stretch at the same time.

What are other methods that you can do almost anywhere?