Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
20 Mar

When All You Want to Do Is Sit on the Couch

couchWe all have days when our motivation is less than sprightly. We stayed up too late the previous night. We’ve had a busy week with work or family duties. We’re worn out after trying some new fitness experiments. The snow and cold are getting on our nerves. There are plenty of good reasons to take a day off from exercising. An overabundance of physical or mental stress, after all, can deplete us without adequate recovery. Plus, some days we just want to wallow in some abject, Grok-style leisure. As healthy hominids, we’re entitled, yes? All this said, what about the times when a day on the couch becomes a couple weeks – or couple months? What if we’ve, in fact, spent much of our lives on the couch (or office chair, driver’s seat, etc.) and are trying to make our way out of the sedentary trap? If this kind of chronic inactivity describes your lifestyle of late, consider this post for you.

Maybe some of you can’t quite identify with this problem. You’re ready to fidget your way out of your own skin if you’re so much as laid up for a single day. You enjoy the gym or all manner of outdoor endeavor. Nonetheless, I’d venture to say many readers can connect with this feeling or at least know someone who clearly does. Some people are simply comfortable not moving. Maybe they were athletes once upon a time but got rerouted by a sit-down job years ago. Maybe they always took an interest in more cerebral activities and never really tapped into the gratification of anything particularly physical. It happens – especially in our culture these days. Never before has it been so easy not to move, and never has there been so many sedentary activities and occupations that are, indeed, genuinely enjoyable enough to take up an entire day when you let them.

Yet you know this sedentary existence is draining the life out of you. It’s robbing you of vitality in the present and the chance for full vigor, mobility and longevity in the future. You know it’s time to change, but what do you do with the crushing lethargy and lack of motivation? Let me throw out some modest proposals to the chronically inert.

Harness the power of boredom.

For some people, this might be a necessary first step. Give your T.V. and tech toys to a friend for at least a full week (if not month). Get rid of any and all distractions (even if they’re treasured hobbies) for a strategic length of time. The break (and lack of related tools) will force you to find a new way to spend your time. Eventually, you’ll probably at least leave the house. This at least opens up new possibilities.

Get real about the logistics.

So, you don’t want to get off the couch. Does this mean you don’t want to get off the couch at all or you don’t want to get off the couch at 8:00 p.m. at night after a long day when you finally get the kids to bed? Seriously, not a lot of people in those circumstances want to go work out then. The problem in this scenario probably isn’t you as much as the unrealistic timing. You have a right to be exhausted at 8:00 p.m. By all means, spend an hour of quality time with your partner and then go to bed if you need to. What I wouldn’t suggest doing is keeping it parked in the recliner for another three hours only to feel exhausted again the next morning and continue the endless cycle. (Remember that definition of insanity – doing the same thing time and again expecting different results?)

If evening doesn’t work for you, scratch it off the list of available times and find a time to get moving that does work. Maybe if you hit the hay by 9:30, you’ll actually be okay getting up early to work out in the morning. Hit the gym, work out at home or outdoors in the early morning hours. Alternatively, get up early to go into work early and flex the time to make for a longer lunch hour (bonus: a midday walk/run means plenty of peak sunlight) or an early departure at the end of the day, which may allow for a pre-dinner workout. It’s possible that keeping a saner sleep schedule might allow you to make better use of your evening. A good night’s sleep every night might mean you have the energy to take the dog for a run at 8:00 or to do some bodyweight exercises before relaxing in preparation for bedtime. On weekends, set a hard and fast schedule rather than let the day’s random social calendar dictate things. Some people find it easier to get their workout in early and then offer their families the rest of the day.

Speed date YouTube fitness demonstrations.

There are millions of fitness videos on the Internet, many of them good, many worthless and some downright comical (sometimes purposefully so). Commit 15 minutes a day to “speed date” three sites (that’s a mere 5 minutes each). Do everything the person demonstrates. Remember, you’re only committed to 5 minutes if it’s too hard or too crazy. You’ll be gaining movement and maybe some interesting conversation fodder.

Make an active bucket list.

What would you do if you could? A 5K run? A 10K charity walk? Climb a certain mountain you visited once as a child? Hike the perimeter of your city or county? Canoe a certain river? Bike across an area of your state? Make the list and then set some smaller but appealing goals to lead up to the greater, bolder challenges. Let yourself walk the first 5K. Set your sites on biking or hiking a nearby nature reserve. Take a canoe or kayak around the perimeter of an area lake. Consider what would be genuinely fun. What would bring euphoria to your life? Commit to one “bucket list” item (small or big) every week, and document every accomplishment.

Round up some accountability.

For some people, finding an exercise partner is enough. The comfort of a friendship feels safe and encouraging. When you’re just trying to get moving at all, getting out for a daily walk with a friend can feel like genuine quality time. You’ll crave the socialization and support, which will make you want to get off your duff and do it each day. Be aware, however, that many (if not most) friends aren’t going to necessarily be your best long-term bet for making serious progress.

This could also mean hiring a trainer who is going to understand where you’re at and who will work creatively with you – but who won’t accept excuses. Sure, you pay that person for a service, but most trainers I know don’t enjoy taking clients who aren’t interested in putting in the work. Not only does it make for boring, frustrating sessions, but they recognize their clients are walking (and talking) advertisements for them. A client who makes good use of the service will always be the better investment of their time. This said, good trainers want all their clients to succeed. They enjoy working with people and are passionate about seeing people through major transformations. If you can’t seem to talk yourself out of your excuses, their no-nonsense approach might just get you in line.

Revise your definition of exercise.

It kills me how many people have this crazy dichotomy going in their minds that says you’re either training for an Iron Man or you’re not (doing anything). How does this persist? Come up with what a fun active life looks like to you. If you’re 62 and want to take ballet or horseback riding lessons, do it. If you’d find it fun to join a basketball league or a hiking Meetup, go ahead. Bike to work. Do yoga in your living room. Take up synchronized swimming. Go skiing. Guess what? It all counts. Think back to all the ways you moved as a child. Start there and find your inner Primal athlete. Go for fun and passion first. You’ll be surprised where it goes once you get involved and stick with it.

Experiment with how low – or bizarre – you can set this bar.

Challenge yourself to how much pathetically feeble or totally “unorthodox” style movement you can work into your daily life. Stretch. Seriously, just get up and stretch. Do ten minutes of something – anything. Set you alarm and do 10 jumping jacks 5 times a day. Walk up a flight of stairs at work once an hour. On the more creative side of things, play Twister with your kids (or partner) or hide and seek with the dog. Roll with them on the floor. Roll down a hill (and climb back up to repeat 20 times). Play karate even if you have don’t have the slightest idea what you’re doing. Wash your car. Wash your mother’s car. Wash your dog. (If you have a large dog, this may be no easy feat.) Dig a hole in the backyard – even if you have no purpose for it. Paint a closet door. Join a Pedal Pub on a Saturday. (Of course, don’t expect that beer to do you any Primal favors, but it’s a means of movement.) Throw a tennis ball against the side of your house a hundred times trying to not let it hit the ground. Juggle while walking. Speed walk through the grocery store on peak weekend hours until you’re asked to leave. Pull a wagon of rocks or other sundry items through the neighborhood. You get the idea.

Do some service.

See if altruism can spur some motivation. While you’re out and about in the neighborhood, rake the leaves off your street’s sewers. Go pick up garbage for a half an hour. Help clear spring trails at a state or regional park. Join one of the organizations that does painting and other home renovation work for people in need. Mow your neighbor’s lawn for the heck of it. Split firewood for someone. If your community or another human being just isn’t inspiration enough, commit the time to an animal in need of some exercise and companionship. Obviously, if you have your own, give him/her the best treat possible and head outside for walks, runs, chase and ball throwing. Maybe your neighbors just had a baby or just got put on the late shift for work. Offer to take their dog for a daily walk. Volunteer at the local animal shelter as a dog walker. Let’s face it: many of us would do for an animal what we wouldn’t do for ourselves. If it gets you moving, it doesn’t matter. No one’s judging.

Ask what you have psychologically invested in being unhealthy.

I’ve written a fair amount about this recently – the influence of self-perpetuated stories and personal identity. The fact is, some of us have it out for ourselves psychologically speaking. Defeat is integrated into our inner dialogue. Limitation stews at the base of our minds. Unearth these influences, see them for what they are (with professional support if necessary or desired) and let them go. Set up a circular file in your mind or a literal burning bowl in your backyard and release them from your consciousness. For every thought you give up, do ten “active” actions and visualize them as ten nails going in that self-defeating idea’s coffin. Now walk – or sprint – away like a boss.

Now it’s your turn. What advice do you have for those who are dealing with making the first moves off the couch and into an active life? Do you identify? What’s worked for you – or not worked? Share your thought and strategies, and thanks for reading, everybody.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Spring is here! No sense in stayng in doors and being bored. Time to get out there and enjoy the sun. New Orleans seems to have something going on every weekend now until the end of May. I’m ready to partake in the festivites!

    NOLA Paleo (new orleans) wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • I wish it was warm enough out to say that here in Oregon. :P It’s 45 degrees and partly cloudy with a touch of rain today. Oh well, I moved here on purpose, and own a waterproof rain coat. But I’m feeling an intense longing for a little warmth!

      Willow wrote on March 20th, 2014
  2. Great post. It’s so easy to get stuck in the normal rut of everyday life and put off working out until tomorrow…but tomorrow never comes. I find I have to make time during the day before I get home from work (3 kids kind of steal the evening from you). So I stand at my workstation all day everyday, and try to walk 30+ minutes during my lunch break. If I got time/energy after I put all the munchkins down, then I do a little strength training. Still trying to convince management at my work to convert one of the conference rooms upstairs into a workout room…..chances of success seem pretty remote.

    Jacob wrote on March 20th, 2014
  3. Do they make low carb couch potatoes?

    Groktimus Primal wrote on March 20th, 2014
  4. As I read this post, the dog is lying in a sunny spot on the couch and I’m sitting on my ass in front of the computer. The temp in Minnesota has finally hit 40. Time for us to to get outside, pooch, and take a walk in the sun! Thanks, Mark!

    Jim Haas wrote on March 20th, 2014
  5. Parkour!

    Seriously–all you need is an obstacle. It’s infinitely gradable and the best workout you can do without feeling like you’re working out. There are plenty of youtube tutorials from the likes of Jessie LaFlare.

    Fritzy wrote on March 20th, 2014
  6. My favorite kind of exercise is what I call “cardio-cleaning”. Once a week I clean my whole house, it takes about 3.5 hours and it’s a monster workout (my latest blog post).

    At the end, there is a sparkling clean “castle” and I have taken care of two very important things at once.

    paleocrush wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • I had to giggle a bit at this because my wife does the same thing but a nearly daily basis. She works from home and we have 3 girls….2 nine-month twins and a 2 year old we affectionately call Hurricane Sophie, because she can mess the entire house up in under 30 minutes.

      Jacob wrote on March 20th, 2014
      • Ha! You just described my life. Work at home, 3 small kids. I’ve just decided to live with the “beautiful mess” that my kids leave for me each day. My guilty pleasure is TV. I’ve made a deal with myself that I will only watch TV while walking on the treadmill. So I setup a small flatscreen and my DVR right at my treadmill. It works great! Gets me moving and limits my tv watching. We still try to get outside as often as possible, but between homework, dinner, and trying to keep the ‘mess’ from getting too out of control, sometimes getting outside (with 3 small ones) is not as easy or relaxing as it sounds.

        Mae wrote on March 20th, 2014
        • Tell me about it. You’d think you have nothing but time to clean, cook beautiful meals, and workout so you can be the fit and trim mom with the shining floors, fluffy rugs, flowing drapes, sparkling sink, and fresh flowers festooning every room.

          Reality bites. Totally. I’m lucky if I can shower in the morning before my little hurricanes (5, 3, and 18 mos) wake up to wreak havoc on everything. Can’t tell you how much unfolded laundry I have waiting right now. Thing is, I folded it all yesterday but didn’t get to putting it away tout de suite, and the kids tore it all to pieces while playing “castles and dragons” on my bed.

          All I want to do is sit on the couch! I seldom get the opportunity, though. :-)

          Amy L. H. wrote on March 20th, 2014
        • I have an au pair and I don’t have any children.

          Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on March 20th, 2014
      • I find these situations almost inconceivable. As far back as I can remember (3 years old) I was a decently clean and tidy kid. Sure sometimes I left some toys lying around and didn’t put the remote and coasters back on the coffee table in an orderly way but I was a far-cry from one of those kids in the Bounty commercials that makes it appear every child is flailing, squawking, crawling pile of stickiness and slime eager to spill and spread filth on every available clean surface. (A boss of dross?).
        The one exception I can think of is a home video where I’m eating pancakes with my hands and it looks like I’m getting some on the table. I was probably f()cked up on corn syrup.

        Animanarchy wrote on March 20th, 2014
  7. Wow what a great post !! I am not a cold weather fan but under normal circumstances here on the east coast I can get outside at least with the dog two or three times a week. Not so this winter !! It has been frigid and I have refused to go outside. I’ll just say its been a rough winter and I’m looking forward to a change, now to just get motivated again and start getting outside. For me its a cascade effect, once I do that on a regular basis other exercise or activity seems to fall into place.

    Tammy wrote on March 20th, 2014
  8. Good timing. I really am exhausted today. Several big projects going on. I will go to my Arthritis Foundation chair yoga class, and do a few weights to get the kinks out, but otherwise go easier on myself.

    Harry Mossman wrote on March 20th, 2014
  9. A few hours of couch time won’t hurt anyone. We all need a little down-time here and there. When couch time is 16/7, with the other 8 being bed time, the problem could be depression. There are plenty of natural ways to ease stress, anxiety, and just plain being overwhelmed by life in general. IMO, one of the best fixes is to pry yourself off that couch and get outside even if it’s freezing and the wind is blowing 50 miles an hour. Getting outside of the house and outside of yourself will improve your perspective immensely.

    Shary wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • I agree. Sometimes the only thing that seems at all reasonable is to stand up and walk out the door. Even if it’s just to stand outside and look a the sky. Just do that.

      flbeachmom wrote on March 21st, 2014
  10. Well as a child and even a teen my favorite activity was the water park. All that climbing stairs for the reward of sliding down. Now as a 50 years old I feel very unwelcome there and the backlog of people really cuts into the exercise. Excuses!
    I also loved tobogganing, it is pretty much the same thing and it didn’t go even one time this winter even though I live near a hill.

    Cindy wrote on March 20th, 2014
  11. Get out of my head, Mark.

    I like the idea of using YouTube demos. I always get bored with the same-old, or worried if I try something new I’ll do it wrong and hurt myself.

    Emily wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • Love this post!! I am a recovered couch potato. I have adopted a rule that I am not allowed to sit down when I get home from work until after dinner is eaten and the kitchen is clean. I have a sedentary job, and then I used to go home and sit for 4 more hours until bed. Now, I do some housework and walk the dog each night. The part about “how bizarre you can set the bar” really speaks to me :-) I am the crazy lady in my neighborhood who runs around with her dog from tree to tree looking for squirrels! He loves it, and It is so much fun. This dog went from barely able to run at all, to running all the way up the street, and jumping on tree trunks (kinda proud of my doggie)! I’m sure my neighbors think I’m weird – but I don’t care – we have a blast, and I get a little sprinting in.

      KariVery wrote on March 20th, 2014
  12. Sometimes I have to really force myself to go to the weight room but when it comes to nature I’m always eager to go hiking.

    Peter wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • I’ve thought about setting up a nature gym and might do it this year. I was thinking buckets of dirt/water/whatever with ropes tied to the handles and then slung over a branch could work like a pulley for lat and tricep pulldowns, flys, and stuff like that. Buckets also work for curls and shoulder raises.

      Animanarchy wrote on March 20th, 2014
  13. This lovely MN winter left me with no motivation to get out of the recliner. However, a trip to AZ, specifically Sedona in June, and a trip to PrimalCon Oxnard, is getting me moving.

    I started what I’m calling stair sprints 3x/wk, using the stairs to my basement as my indoor track. Based on Tabata sprints, I’m doing one down/up as 1 sprint, currently up to one set of six with 45 seconds between. When I get to eight, I’ll start splitting them up and shortening the rest between sprints.

    I’m going as fast as I can, which currently isn’t very quick at all. Hopefully by June I’ll be a whole lot faster and a bit leaner so I can go hike the vortexes. By September, who knows?

    Beth wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • In my experience doing a lot of leg stretching is invaluable for running speed.

      Animanarchy wrote on March 20th, 2014
  14. I really needed to hear this. I’ve been using the cold weather as an excuse all winter to be inactive and just this week, I finally started to get fed up with all my couch sitting inactivity. But it really does get its hooks into and I’m struggling to motivate, which makes me grateful to read this and remember how much happier I am when I’m active.

    Christopher wrote on March 20th, 2014
  15. I think it was Mark Twain who said:
    “Everytime I get the urge to exercize, I sit down until it goes away”

    After doing my bodyweight training and sprinting and walking/hiking for the week, I never feel guilty about lounging around the teepee/couch.

    Nocona wrote on March 20th, 2014
  16. Being sedentary is one of the worst things I think we can do (or not do!) for our health. Being a graduate of Fitness and Health Promotions has ingrained this into my very being. Living a sedentary lifestyle is also a likely indicator of your current emotional, environmental and psychological health as well. When we are well, our bodies want to move.

    Jules wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • Very true. I have noticed when I’m taking care of myself physically, nutritionally, and emotionally, my whole body feels like pure crackling electricity. I can’t wait to get off work to go home and workout! It’s not everyday, but when I hit one of those days, I know it’s gonna be a good day! :)

      Jacob wrote on March 20th, 2014
  17. Item number 1 on this list should be “Get screened for depression.” Sometimes lack of vitality leads to couch-potatoness, and not the other way around.

    At least in the case of my depression, none of these otherwise-fine ideas would have helped in the least. If you can get yourself to exercise, it might help marginally, but not nearly as much as proper treatment.

    Marisheba wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • To clarify–I don’t meant to say that everyone who isn’t finding time/motivation to exercise should be screened for depression; I mean that everyone who isn’t finding time/motivation to do much of *anything* beyond the necessities and internet/TV/videogames should be screened for depression.

      Marisheba wrote on March 20th, 2014
  18. Bonus points on the bounce a tennis ball off the side of your house thing, if you see how many times you can do it while balanced on one foot. That’s one of the things I had to do in phyiscal therapy, many years ago, after getting a cast off my lower leg. Eventually, though, I got really good at getting the ball to bounce back so that I didn’t have to lean or reach to catch it. I had to start purposely throwing it at a slight angle so that I could continue to work on balance.

    I’ve been going outside and walking around at work. Then, I noticed how much trash is in the grass around the building, and have been taking a bag out with me and picking up all the trash.

    b2curious wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • I cleaned up outside my favourite library for probation community service hours, even going so far as to climb on the roof to get what was there and procuring a butter knife from the cafeteria of the local hospital and using it to scrape gum off the pavement. I didn’t get all my hours done but I guess I got a good reference from the CEO of the library because I didn’t get in trouble.
      A couple other times outside another library I’ve looked around at all the garbage and the garbage bags not sitting properly in the cans and just got overwhelmed and fed up and started cleaning and another time when there was a garbage bag that had been run over on the road. A number of people looked at me curiously or like I was weird.. same goes for moving empty recycling bins or fallen down garbage cans off the sidewalk or road to make sure they’re not in the way, and when I clean up the kitchen of a shelter I stay in sometimes. I don’t see how people can think there’s anything wrong with doing that. I don’t want to live in a dump.

      Animanarchy wrote on March 20th, 2014
      • Now I love you even more.

        I usually pick up street trash when I know I am headed toward a trash can or if I find a bag to put it in. For some reason I can’t remember to bring a bag with me when I am walking somewhere. I need to do that.

        It is beyond me why people litter.

        Sharon wrote on March 21st, 2014
  19. I dunno. We have a snowstorm since the early morning, so I am chewing my knuckles off trying to decide what to do. I normally take my kiddo to her HKD class and go on elliptical while she is at that, but all I want to do, is grab her, go home, make supper and, well, play a videogame with my husband and forget about the whole bloody RL, boring job and all that. I know it’s all wrong, but we have had such wonderful weather yesterday, it felt like spring, and now… yeah, the reminder that spring’s not till June. :(

    Leida wrote on March 20th, 2014
  20. I would add, “Get screened for hypothyroidism.” I have mild hypothyroidism and take medication for it. When the condition is properly corrected, I look forward to walks, all sorts of exercise, gardening, etc. When my thyroid is low, I have to force myself to get out for a short walk, and the thought of my yard work is overwhelming.

    Danae wrote on March 20th, 2014
  21. When I used to run every day for 5 years at 5:30am (I’m a recovered chronic cardio-er), what worked best in the beginning was to make my promises to myself totally “failsafe.”

    I started out promising only to lay out all my workout clothes the night before, wake up, then put them on and stand on the porch. I did not promise to actually go running! Once I was standing there, I could run, or go back to bed. 95 times out of 100, I just ran.
    Best thing: I learned to only make promises I would actually keep. Anything more was a bonus.

    kay wrote on March 20th, 2014
  22. I recently moved to a new apartment and purposely have not set up cable or internet. I wonder now how I even had time to keep up on all my TV shows. The boredom factor greatly contributes to keeping my apartment tidy and getting me out of the house, which I’m looking forward to even more this summer!

    Stacie wrote on March 20th, 2014
  23. Very timely post, I had surgery to reattach my right pectoral tendon a week ago. I have been working up to it but then overdid it trying to do a muscle up. I normally extremely active but now I’m having a hard time even getting outside. It seems so much easier to watch TV.

    My arm is in a sling for a month and I’m looking at 4 to 6 months of rehab so normal workouts are not going to happen.

    Thanks for the post Mark. I’m getting up and going outside right now to walk the dog. Enough with the excuses.

    spayne wrote on March 20th, 2014
  24. Even when I’m “resting” I’m still mentally active. Sitting down feels great after working all day, but there will be a book or something equivalent in my hands. Works well!

    Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on March 20th, 2014
  25. A great post, but…. With a clinical (major) depression “ON” for the last five months… I am struggling! I am happy when I manage to get myself out to hike an hour with our dog in the forest (which begins from our doorstep!).

    Kaistaleena wrote on March 20th, 2014
  26. When you turn your backyard into a scene from Holes and really want to freak out your neighbours, dig them about 6′ x 3′ by 6′ deep, and look nervous. Then have them filled in for the next morning and look happy.
    I’ve been spending so much time on the couch lately because of a 2-week stay at my dad’s place where there’s not much to do. I’ve been sitting here with a laptop on the coffee table on the internet practically nonstop and occasionally switching to a desktop computer to play a game I used to be obsessed with (beat it, w00t). This will end on Sunday when I return to my regular life of abject poverty in a shelter where I’m more likely to do a lot more walking since the shelters generally kick people out most of the day. For now I’ve been doing some calisthenics and deadlifts to break up the sedentary sprees and though I’m not at a level of fitness to be proud of because I’m basically starting from scratch again, I’ve gotten a bit stronger since I got here. I also run or lunge up the stairs and use a grip-squeeze device.
    The looming threat over me is that there’s a chance I might have to do more jail time for a totally BS charge of allegedly causing a disturbance (I’ve done so much darn time for stuff I didn’t even do!). Court is this coming Monday. At least since I’m out with a promise-to-appear I can fight the charge, which I plan to do. I might even get a legal aid lawyer and mental health workers to back me up.
    Whenever I’ve dealt with the legal stuff I’m going to get a bike and take off camping and rough it again, which I think is probably the best thing I can do for myself and something I really enjoy.

    Animanarchy wrote on March 20th, 2014
    • Just read Groktimus’s comment. :)
      I’ve basically been low-carb at least (Atkins levels some days), and if not then I think almost entirely within the 150g limit.

      Animanarchy wrote on March 20th, 2014
  27. Great timing. I visited my sister out of town this past weekend and she uses one of those circuit gyms for women. I am sixty and need to build more muscle and sounds like this might be a good idea, and needed some motivation. Your blog post will help a bit. I do yoga twice a week, and work as a RN and I am up walking a lot at work, but the muscles need help. The other thing is about the gym, I would meet other women my age. I am going to check it out next week.
    Thanks for your blog, as it has kept me pretty pure on not eating wheat etc, and as far as that goes, I am feeling pretty good, and heal fast. People tell me I look good too (all that healthy food)

    Margie wrote on March 20th, 2014
  28. Very motivating! Oregon weather was 45 and cloudy but i got out to walk and smell the spring flowers. To all the busy parents of little ones: don’t stress over it. All too soon they are big and don’t want to play with you anymore. Run, jump, roll on the floor with them. You are creating loving bonds and memories that are the core of a happy (and maybe euphoric) life.

    betsy wrote on March 20th, 2014
  29. Possibly I missed it, but can anyone recommend the best YouTube websites to get off that couch (or bed!)?

    Merry wrote on March 20th, 2014
  30. Maybe 5 years ago I would have loved a day on the couch. Nowadays, after being primal for 3 years, it’s hard to stay idle for too long. Of course, three children under the age of 5 will do that to you, too.

    Christopher Lee Deards wrote on March 21st, 2014
  31. A growing body of research shows that exercise is not adequate to undo the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle. I have been increasing my non-exercise activity. I ride my bike almost everywhere, sit no more than 1-2 hours per day, lower the thermostat during the colder months. You can’t exercise your way out of a sedentary lifestyle.

    Tony in New Orleans wrote on March 21st, 2014
  32. I dont own a TV, car, or couch. I dont work in an office and am on my feet all day at work.

    I HATE sitting for long periods of time, so ive naturally made a life that doesnt involve a lot of it.

    Nicole wrote on March 21st, 2014
  33. I love this post. It’s for people like me. I have no excuses for being fairly sedentary (I mean, I get out in the garden, go for the odd walk, go out a fair bit etc, but I NEVER exercise for the sake of it). I’m 36, female, I work part time, don’t have kids, I’m not overweight or sick. I simply NEVER get any sort of urge to be active. EVER. I’ve always hated the feeling of physical exertion.
    Following a primal diet (give or take) keeps my weight under control, but I’d love to be active, fit and toned and making the most of life. I’ve been waiting for the energy levels to pick up since I went primal 2 years ago, but nothing amazing has happened. But at least I don’t need to take an afternoon nap anymore! I’m just one of those people with low energy levels I guess. Sigh.

    Lee wrote on March 21st, 2014
  34. I was beginning to wonder if anyone really knows what a true sedentary life style feels like, until I read the last post. I mean, housework? Pah! Walking for no reason (I had to give the dog away because he got arthritis due to my sedentary lifestyle), Excersise? don’t do enough to even bother to spell it right! Gardening?, not with my black thumb! I stay indoors just so I don’t have to look at my yard!
    I have type 2 diabetes(due to lifestyle, I suspect!) and since I started the Primal way, I have reduced my bgl to the normal ranges for the first time in 15 years, that’s 3 months of being excited, motivated and proud of sticking to something that is not that hard to do anyway. But boy, would I like to have lost some weight!!
    Maybe I could start with the elliptical trainer (“The Terminator”) that my son gave me…..

    beccaj wrote on March 21st, 2014
  35. Thank you. This has been in my head all day long. As a kid I was a great tennis player. Haven’t played in at least 15 years. Just signed up for tennis lessons! Thank you, Mark and community.

    Cold Turkey wrote on March 21st, 2014
  36. There’s something a bit Calvinist about these suggestions, almost as if doing nothing requires some kind of penance in physical activity. All this talk about “hit the hay,” “hit the gym,” “pre-dinner workout,” “hard and fast schedule” — makes me want to go lie down and nap and dream.

    And what’s wrong with spending a few hours (or a whole day) in the couch or in bed with your favorite books, journal, relaxing tea, watching classic movies? That can be very nourishing to both body and soul and I’d argue that taking down time for “sweet nothing” can be just as rejuvenating as a gym class or workout.

    Not everybody enjoys exercise for the sake of exercise; if you do then it’s wonderful to use your free time for it. But some of us aren’t gifted in the same way and prefer slower, physically quieter, or meditative activities. Also, if you have a chronic illness or condition aggravated by stress, then hard-earned “down time” can be a blessing, especially if it takes some extra energy go work, meet professional and personal goals, etc.

    Maybe I got this perspective from my mom. She had a full-time job in a creative field, raised five kids, cooked like a French chef, and volunteered for seniors (even when she herself became a senior citizen). And yet once a week or so she’s take a half-day or longer to “veg out” in bed with magazines, TV, newspapers, etc. She never went to a gym in her whole life though she gardened and walked. Now she’s 85, very alert and in good health, and enjoys life.

    dolce far niente wrote on March 22nd, 2014
    • If you look up the “sensible indulgences” post, being a couch potato is one of them. It’s “chronic inactivity” that’s the menace in question in this post. Not sure if you’re referring to the post or other comments in your comment, or just arguing against possible real-life manifestations of strawmen (an activity I personally enjoy, being a strawman scarecrow). I agree with what you said though. Sometimes relaxing when you could be active is warranted, a good idea, or even deserved. Overall I concur with Mark’s human to shark comparison though (“we need to keep moving”).

      Animanarchy wrote on March 22nd, 2014
  37. Well it seems my first attempt to get my [de]motivational poster linked to here did not succeed in penetrating the gauntlet (something primal that knights did when there were no wenches around).
    I think it’s probably because I also linked to a political satire poster I made in the same comment and MDA, though hating on all sorts of government organizations, wishes to appear to remain neutral about governing individuals (except by extension).
    So here’s something I made to amuse and make you think twice about going to a fast food restaurant (and spending too much time sitting or being lazy).
    http://postimg.org/image/wq00kqmzz/
    Idealistically I’d prefer not to exploit a picture of obese kids but it was too suitable for my purpose and it seems to have already garnered some infamy anyway.
    And here’s someone else’s anti-McDonald’s slogan pic.
    http://www.narutoforums.com/showthread.php?t=412855

    Animanarchy wrote on March 22nd, 2014
  38. This is very interesting. I like it.

    Amelie wrote on March 23rd, 2014
  39. This is a GREAT post and just the kick in the a$$ I need. I’ve been following Primal BP eating plan off and on for over a year, but haven’t done anything about increasing my physical activity. I am 50+ and blame my ever expanding girth on menopause, when in actuality, it likely has much more to do with my activity level. I sit all day at work and after a 2 hour daily commute, have absolutely NO energy/gumption/desire to do anything but take off my pumps and veg. I’ve tried working with a personal trainer or taking classes at the local gym but have no stick-to-it-ness. Most nights I end up spending a shocking length of time on social media and in front of the t.v. I am getting more depressed and forlorn as the days pass and I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE THIS PATTERN. So, your post inspired me to make yet another plan with the hope that I will stick this one out…beginning April 1st, I am going to deactivate my social media account for one month. In that month, I am going to do something/anything active when I get home (walk the dog–walk the human; tabata squats, planks, etc)…Maybe by the end of the month I will have reprogrammed my routine and adopted a more healthy and active lifestyle. Wish me luck!

    Cheryl wrote on March 24th, 2014
  40. I like that you say it’s not necessary to put everything into the workout at each single time… or not work out at all. I have this feeling stuck in my head somehow too and have to remind myself that any workout is better than nothing!

    Veronika wrote on March 24th, 2014

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