“The cure for sitting at a desk is not sitting on a workout machine. It is movement. Animals don’t exercise, they do what is required to survive.” ~Erwan Le Corre
If you thought I was going to actually give you three “exercises” to do, you don’t know me very well. However, if you do heed the following three suggestions, any exercise you choose to do will be the “best.”
1) One that is outside.
I said it before and I’ll say it again, “Your body will accomplish amazing things if you allow it to do what it is designed to do.” Your body is not designed to be indoors, putting in 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer, while watching fox news under fluorescent lights. Your body is designed to be outside and it loves it when it is.
Just some of the benefits of exercising outside:
- Fresh air. Not recirculated, filtered air. FRESH AIR!
- Sunshine. You know, the stuff that your body uses to make vitamin D?
- Grounding. Touching the earth will negate the positive charge your body picks up from the electronics and voltage that surround you, like say, when you are in a gym.
- Prolonged sessions. You know those moments when you are looking at the treadmill timer and there are just a fews seconds left? You count down and are relieved when it finally hits 0:00. Now you can stop exercising and go have a smoothie to replace all those calories you just burned. This doesn’t happen outside. It is rare that you hate what you are doing so much that you count the seconds till it’s over when you are outside.
- Adiponectin. Low levels of the hormone serum adiponectin can contribute to type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic derangement. According to Dr. Qing Li, who is considered to be one of the world’s foremost experts on shinrin-yoku, also know as forest bathing, forest bathing appears to increase the level of serum adiponectin. Just being outside, in nature, can produce the very results you are trying to get in the gym but aren’t.
2) One that you LOVE.
If you don’t love it, it won’t be in your life very long. I cover this extensively in this blog post. I can sum it up like this: No matter how beneficial an exercise is, if you don’t like it, you won’t be doing it for very long.
I can put together a workout that will produce results in less than 15 minutes a day but it will suck and you won’t keep up with it for very long. Honestly, you can get results for a four minute workout. Every hear of Tabata? If you haven’t, there is a good reason for this, it sucks and nobody wants to do it.
Currently, I walk and run on nature trails and rock climb. I don’t really do these things because they a great “workouts” but because I love to do them. I am in my fourth year of rock climbing. At 6’7” and 230ish pounds I am not built for rock climbing and I’m not very good at it but I love it so, I do it up to 4 days a week for up to a couple hours a day. I enjoy these activities so much I do them often and as a result, I get all the exercise I need as a byproduct.
Do an activity that you love and that is challenging and you will get all the exercise you need.
3) One that has a purpose.
You are more likely to do an exercise if it has a purpose. In fact, you won’t even think of it as exercise.
Which are you more likely to do? 30 minutes on the recumbent bike or ride 30 minutes to you favorite coffee shop? Go to your trendy kick butt cardio class or take salsa dancing lessons? Walk on the treadmill or walk to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner.
Primitive man did not go to the gym. They moved when it was necessary, to hunt, to protect, to gather, to relocate, to escape. Luckily for us we can be less concerned about hunting and escaping predators and incorporate more recreational movement, like learning a new skill, tending to our garden, working on our car, or playing with our kids.