Reasons to exercise less

You’re trying to exercise too much.

Wait, what…?

We’ve all heard that we should exercise more and that exercise is good for us.

Yeah, whatever, who cares? Well, some do.

I could be writing about how much our culture is detached from our true human nature, that we don’t move anywhere near as much as we used to, that our office jobs are killing us, and that sitting is the new smoking.

I am sitting down while I am typing this. Cross-legged, hunching over my laptop that’s not adjusted in accordance with the correct ergonomic height for a computer screen – I can literally feel the gradual decay and disintegration of my entire body.

I am a rebel, I am a rascal, I am reckless. Some would even go as far as to call me a silly goose.

Anyway, I started this post with the words ‘You’re trying to exercise too much’. The key word is: ‘trying’.

Current fitness culture made us believe that we should be doing an hour or hour and a half long workouts. Ideally 3 times per week or more. So we’re trying to fit those hours into our schedules.

It’s definitely doable and realistic for some.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most folks who would massively benefit from moving more daily to get stronger, fitter and more mobile.

Those folks also have busy schedules filled with work and family commitments. On top of that, they’re told to go to the gym three times per week and work hard on their fitness.

What a fantastic story. Like a tale of a dragon, a knight in shiny armour, and a princess awaiting her saviour.

That’s so romantic, isn’t it?

If you already have an exercise routine and can stick to hours of training per week, and enjoy it – great, this post is not for you – send it to your friends and clients who struggle with establishing a consistent exercise routine.

The problem is that trying to create a new exercise routine with hours of exercise only looks good on paper. In practice, it’s unsustainable and difficult to maintain – or even to start.

There is too much friction to get started. The workouts are too long, too boring, and the gym is too far.

You might as well have a nap and eat some biscuits instead. Well, maybe that’s actually what you really need right now. Go have that cookie, open the cupboard and follow your dreams. You’re more than enough.

Instead of forcing yourself into thinking about the perfect exercise routine (that you’ll never do), think of the minimal bearable amount of exercise you can do throughout the day (that you’ll actually do).

Something that will be easy to do and short. You get bonus points if you make it enjoyable while being outside. Another couple of points for blocking it into your work calendar and setting reminders.

Start with something as small as:

I’ll do some simple bodyweight exercises for 5 minutes

I’ll go for a 10-minute walk on my lunch break

I’ll stretch for 1 minute for every hour I spend working at my desk

I’ll do 3 squats before I finally sit down on a toilet to begin my morning business

The message here is not new, but contrary to what most of the fitness industry is trying to tell you. Start small, as small as you can and increase the dose with time – if you want to, once you can.

Moving more needs to happen on your terms. Exercise for the sake of exercise is not fun or sustainable for most. So find something that you like.

Find something that you can add easily to your busy schedule. 10 minutes of this, and 20 minutes of that goes a long way when building new habits. You need to make it sustainable right from the start.

Take up a new sport (or return to one you used to play) – something you always wanted to do or used to do as a kid. Visit a climbing gym, play squash, try calisthenics, go for a walk or a slow run with a friend.

There are other ways to skin that cat, other ways to slay that dragon of fitness and save the princess (yourself – you’re the princess in this story!).

Although the analogy might be a tiny bit archaic, your quest for getting fitter and having an outlet for letting some steam off should be of your own design – on your own terms, respecting the time you have available.

You do you, boo.

If you need any help, drop me a message.

– Kuba

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