Tag Archives: Physical fitness

Maybe We Don’t Need to Workout At All

About a week ago, I wrote a post about the perfect exercise routine. My point was that there is no universal perfect exercise routine because there are so many different people on the planet, but that there may be some universal principles that could be applicable across peoples. It turns out that one of those “perfect” exercise routines might just be not exercising at all. Curious?

I recently came across a post from Harley Pasternak in, of all places, People. The post has a great opening illustrating just how sedentary our lives have become — amounting to the fact that we spend 45 minutes at the gym and the other 23 hours and 15 minutes sitting at our desks or sleeping. I really encourage you to read it because it paints quite a picture.

After I read it, I was reminded of the post I wrote a week ago that I referenced above (perfect routine), but also of the post I wrote about the obesity crisis. In that post, I focused on the neuromarketing aspect. That is, the idea that consumers may not have an *unbiased* choice to make when they reach for that bag of potato chips or for a second piece of chocolate cake. My main point in that post was that neuromarketing is having a large impact on the choices that are leading to the obesity epidemic. Pasternak argues that are innovation is also leading to obesity. Because we’ve worked so hard to make it easier to do things, we’ve cut out a lot of the time we spend getting from A to B or completing task A and completing task B:

They take leisurely daily walks, do their errands on foot, and walk, bicycle, or take public transportation to work. To make my case, consider this: the average European walks 237 miles every year and cycles 116 miles. The average American walks just 87 miles and cycles just 24 miles. No wonder Europeans are healthier – they’re three times as active!

It never occurred to me that public transportation would be linked to a country’s health, but I guess that just goes to show you the power of externalities and unintended consequences. This revelation makes me think that it’s even more important for the US to get on with advancing the infrastructure of the public transportation in the country.

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This brief bit about public transportation increasing a country’s health does remind me of something I read recently about the amount of time that patrons spend walking to and from public transportation. Something to the effect of it doubling the number of steps they take in a day. I couldn’t find that particular article, but I was able to find something from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) that supports that finding:

Walking to and from public transportation can help physically inactive populations, especially low-income and minority groups, attain the recommended level of daily physical activity. Increased access to public transit may help promote and maintain active lifestyles.

The Perfect Exercise Routine – *Guaranteed

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post about the perfect diet and because I’d been seeing  lot of news about the “single most efficient exercise regimen,” I thought I’d write a post along the same lines as the one I wrote in June 2011. So, here goes!

There are over 11,900,000 returns when you type perfect exercise routine into Google and over 29,000,000 returns when you type best exercise routine into Google. Exercise routine by itself gives you 35,700,000. Clearly, people are not only interested in exercise and how to do it, but the best way to do it. This is great.

Exercise is such an important part (or at least it should be!) of our lives. Without it, we’re sure to not live nearly as long as we could. Now, maybe some people don’t want to live as long as they possibly can and would rather spend their time doing other things. I understand that. But exercise is not just about living longer, it’s about living better (or healthier), i.e. quality of life

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Certainly there are innumerable exercise routines. In fact, on one of those searches I mentioned above, there was a result near the top that said “1000+ exercise routines.” However, which one’s the best? Is there a best exercise routine? Well, sure there is. If you want better abs, you only have to come through about 10,000,000 Google results to find the best one. I could go through this for every major part of the body, but I’ll spare you the time. I would contend that there is no *perfect* exercise routine for everyone. That is, there isn’t one exercise routine that will be the “best” for everybody. Instead, I’d argue that there are as many perfect exerciser routines as there are people… so, more than 7 billion.

Some may quibble that I’m playing semantics, but just as is the case with food, each body has different things that it needs to thrive. Sure, there may be some general themes for bodies that live in northern climates vs. southern climates and general themes for women’s bodies vs. men’s bodies, but on the whole, I think that finding the perfect exercise routine is about finding what works best for you.

*Disclaimer: Because America is known for being a society of litigation, I thought it necessary to say that I cannot be held responsible for your decisions based on reading this post. I am not a physician, nor do I hold any degrees in exercise, so before making any changes to your exercise routine, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend you consult a physician or educated professional.