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Thread: Everyday movements = Exercise? What's your non-workout workout?

  1. #1

    Everyday movements = Exercise? What's your non-workout workout?

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    Over the years, I've heard about ways to make your routine activities become your workout. Not being one for setting aside time specifically to do push-ups and pull-ups, I would like to find activities that mimic strengthening/toning exercises without the routine and the boredom. Don't get me wrong, I am willing to put out an effort and I like to feel my muscles work, but I have some kind of mental block against what feels like gym class to me.

    I don't think Grok did a lot of calisthencs or weight-lifting sets either. I have a feeling that just getting through the day was plenty. Life has gotten lots easier and more sedentary, but I think there are lots of things we can do to make our everyday movements count.

    Some of the things I do now:

    1. While waiting for my water to heat for tea in the morning (or when heating something for a minute or two in the microwave), I do stretches based on yoga (sun-salutation-ish).
    2. While supervising the dogs outside (we have no fence), I either play chase with them, do some stretching, or throw in some jumping jacks.
    3. When walking the dogs in my neighbour's hay fields (only before and after the haying season), I sprint whenever the spirit moves me.
    4. When cleaning house, I turn vacuuming and mopping into a squat-and-lunge workout.
    5. When doing dishes (by hand - no dishwasher), I sometimes put one foot up on the counter to stretch or do pliés and relevés (all this from my old dance training).
    6. When sitting at my desk (my work is all on the computer), I try to do core abdominal work for a few minutes at a time.
    7. When folding clothes, I leave the basket on the floor and make sure I work the bend or squat as I pick up each item.
    8. My gardening time has been very limited this year, but in the past I have done a fair amount of ground breaking, pitch-forking, earth shoveling, compost turning and stone moving. I have great plans for redoing the gardens next year, which should provide a bunch of substantial spring workouts. Next week, I should have a few hours of garden clean-up to get the blood pumping too.

    I'm wondering what everyone else does with their Grok-like strength and agility in everyday life. How does your primal outlook affect what you do and how you do it? Do you apply the principles of conscious movement? Play with the kids? Chop wood? Do other manual work, for fun or a living? For that matter, what would be the most primal way of earning a living in the modern world? Something that keeps you in top condition with no need to think of a training program?

    Looking forward to hearing what others do and your suggestions to add to my routine.
    Last edited by Northern Light; 10-12-2011 at 12:56 PM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    North Carolina USA
    We have a flight of stairs to the basement where my office is and where the laundry room is so I climb that up and down multiple times a day. Also we have another flight to the bedrooms so I climb that several times as well.

    I have an almost 4 year old and tonight we are going to go play in the swimming pool at the Y. We won't actually be doing a lot of swimming, but more playing and moving around. He likes for me to chase him through the water. We also play a lot of chase games at home and a lot of going for walks in the evening.

    We also try to go place that keep us walking. For instance, this past weekend we went to the county fair. We were there for 9 hours walking around. I didn't indulge in any fair food either other than a diet Coke. We are going to the state fair next weekend which will be another 9-10 hours of walking.

    I do the same thing with laundry and I have to do a lot of bending and reaching to empty and load the dishwasher. I try to do some leg lifts and things like that while I'm sitting at the computer for work.

    I'm just getting started on the whole exercise/fitness thing so I haven't done a whole lot yet.

  3. #3
    Excellent! I'm with you on the stairs. My office is upstairs and I have four pets that are regularly asking for the door, so down and up I go, countless times every day.

    We have no climbable trees in our yard or anywhere close by (spruce forests as far as the eye can see, with young maples and birches for a shot of colour). So I am starting to dream of building an agility course for my over-active golden-doodle that would have some jungle-gym features for me, especially a pull-up bar. Another project...

    I just came in from one of my quick walks in the field. They seem to be getting quicker and quicker as the urge to sprint comes more often. There is a fair amount of leaping involved as well, because the alfalfa is growing back pretty tall since the last cutting! I actually worked up a sweat (at 10 C).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    I generally try to take the stairs 2 at a time, and for years (since I had a bout with plantar faciitis) I do strength and stretch exercises on the stairs. I also play swing music when I clean house, it keeps me moving around and makes it more bearable. I am a gardener and a fix it myself kind of person. I am currently doing a bit of house painting, bending stretching bending stretching climbing the ladder, etc.
    "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain."

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    My "Program": doing my version of a 4:3 - 3 day fast diet with real food every day, with a little twist of anti-inflammatory mixed in.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    I think all these things are good, and part of "moving slowly" but if you try to rationalize that they are all the exercise you need, you are not going to be as healthy as you would if you just did your pushups. How long does Mark's plan, or SimpleFit, take - 15 minutes two-three times per week?

    Comparing climbing a few stairs or gardening to the life of a caveman seems pretty silly to me. Try building a house with no tools, walking 20 miles a day regularly, or trapping an Elk and hauling it home, to compare daily activity and strength needs against our modern lives.
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Seabrook, NH
    I have opportunity to move wheeled containers at work that weigh in at 1,200-1,800 pounds, give or take. Can be done w/ machinery but it's actually quicker to do it myself if the distances are short.

    I also have access to 50-75 pound floppy, awkward sacks that need to be picked through and sorted into various containers.

    Neither is "my job" necessarily but folks are happy to see me do it, in fact they think I'm somewhat insane. I figure why not get paid to do a workout?

    It also can get quite cold and if I'm feeling it I'll run the stairs, 12 flights top to bottom. Warms you up in a damn hurry.
    Last edited by IvyBlue; 10-12-2011 at 04:04 PM.
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  7. #7
    Chris -- Since making the switch, I find myself running up the stairs spontaneously. I haven't used them for stretching in a couple of years, but for many months I had to stretch twice a day to get over really painful bilateral Achilles tendonitis (dance injury). Painting is a great workout in my experience, too. We live in a hundred-year-old house, so there is never a shortage of renovation tasks. Scraping off old paint and sanding (by hand, not with a sander in most cases) is another arm-and-shoulder workout I used to get several times a year.

    IvyBlue -- I like your thinking. I am of the school that if I can do it with my muscles, I should leave the machine on the shelf (or parked). If our yard was not so big, I would still have my old mechanical push mower. Back in the day (thirty years ago or so), when I worked with horses, I looked forward to haying season or hay deliveries because I loved stacking bales. Hours of tossing around 50 pound bales - sheer animal pleasure!

  8. #8
    tfarny -- My point, of course, is that we are very far indeed from Grok's lifestyle, but that there are surely ways that we can reclaim a bit of that heritage that do not involve working out, in the strict sense of the term. "Silly" or not, climbing stairs (or bounding up them, in Chris' case, or running them these days, in mine) is something that elite track athletes do in northern climates when snow and ice impede good outdoor workouts. Granted, they go up and down the highest buildings that they can find, but that is part of the chronic cardio world. I tend to do a flight of stairs two or three times every hour from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. I think that counts if I can make it a conscious muscular effort (not slogging slowly one foot after another).

    As I said, I love to feel my muscles work. I am seeking ways to make everything I do part of a more Grok-approach to moving, not just the fifteen minutes, two or three times a week that I could devote to Mark's plan. I will likely get into that soon enough (I have trained at various things enough in my life to know that it would pay off), but there are about 90 to 100 other hours every week that can be more primal as well. I want to make as many of them count as possible.

  9. #9
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    sometimes i'll ride my bike to buy weed instead of driving

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Calgary, AB
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    walking, gardening, playing with my kid (from just chasing around to belaying), in the winter, whenever I can cross-country skiis (almost never here because no free ski trails; they shovel all the walkways in the city parks, leaving no space for a ski trail, wtf. Planning to by a pass this winter to the Olympic Park maybe). Next year I am buying a bike to bike with my kid, don't want to, but necessary.
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    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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