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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 24, 2014

Why Exercise Feels Like a Drag (and What to Do About It)

By Mark Sisson
110 Comments

Your Purpose AwaitsSometimes while working out at home I catch Buddha (my lab) just kind of watching me doing squats or pushups or pullups or burpees with this look on his face that says, “You feed me, walk me, scratch me, and water me and I love you for it, but what in Dog’s name are you doing?” He probably thinks I’m insane. You can’t really blame the guy. I mean, the stuff we do for exercise is pretty silly:

You’re walking on a treadmill, literally going nowhere for miles at a time.

You’re pedaling like a madman, but instead of seeing the landscape unfold in front of you, you’re watching MSNBC with closed captioning on.

You’re picking up a metal bar with weights on either end and putting it back down over and over again.

Hanging from an overhead bar, you pull yourself up toward it until your chest touches, then go back down and repeat it several dozen times.

Is it any wonder that many people find modern exercise to be meaningless?

Now, not everyone finds it meaningless. I’m a man who prefers a rousing game of Ultimate or a hike through the canyons of Malibu, but I can also appreciate a good strength training workout in the gym and an intense sprint session on the stationary bike. But a lot of people just aren’t moved by conventional workouts. And I think a big reason is that physical movement has become separated from immediate utility. We no longer have to walk, lift things, run, climb, or carry heavy objects to make our living, procure food, or get from here to there. Instead, we work out for promised, basically intangible benefits far off in the distance. If you can’t find immediate value in the exercises, you’re unlikely to do them.

But we do need to exercise. I’d love it if we could all simply incorporate regular movement into our everyday life, and mobile workstations, walking breaks, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking meetings, and short workouts in the office are bridging the gap, but formal workouts are still important – and I’d argue necessary – for health, strength, and fitness.

So what’s a person to do? How can we reinstill meaning and purpose into our daily activity and thus make it feel less like of a drag.

Start active commuting.

Ride your bike to work. Skateboard to work. Or how about rollerblading? Even hopping on one of those goofy recumbent bikes to bypass traffic is a good choice. Whatever the mode, research shows that active commuting is great for psychological and cardiovascular well-being. When compared to passive commuters (either train, bus, or car), active commuters are happier (PDF) and less likely to develop heart issues. They’re also, unsurprisingly, fitter.

Some people just can’t do it. If your commute is 60 miles each way, I don’t expect you to hop on the road bike every morning. If you’re 15 miles away, you’re not going to walk. But there are ways around it. You can always park a mile away from the office and walk the last fifteen minutes. Even those long distance commuters might be able to squeeze the occasional long ride in once a week or two, just to shake things up.

Do physical labor.

Maybe you’re looking for work but haven’t found anything in awhile. Or maybe you’re a student off for summer just kind of milling around in your hometown. If you need work, why not try physical labor? Do yard work, lay bricks, bust up concrete, be a farmhand or a fruit picker. You can even travel and become a WWOOFer (worldwide opportunities on organic farms – volunteer farm worker). All you need is a plane ticket somewhere and you can live, work, get really fit, and enjoy excellent organic produce in such locales as Hawaii, Costa Rica, Chile, Belize, Spain, Hungary, and over 100 other countries around the world.

If you usually hire people to do you yard work, start doing it yourself instead. It really doesn’t take that longand it’s a fantastic workout. Physical labor makes you fit, just so long as you don’t drown your sorrows in drink and junk food.

Go into construction work.

The strength of construction workers is almost unparalleled (both old man strength and farm strength are in the running). They may not always eat the best food or do “cardio” or think much about their health, but those dudes (and ladies, as the case may be) are some of the pound for pound strongest people around. Best of all, it’s functional strength because it was strength developed by doing things in the real world. Construction work also tends to build grip strength better than any dedicated grip-strengthening exercise, so you’ll be ready to lift heavy things when you get back into the gym.

An ancillary benefit is that you’ll learn helpful new skills. Being able to build things with your hands is an important ability that will be extremely valuable when the rage virus epidemic hits and society crumbles around us.

Or if you’ve already got a job you like, pick up some carpentry skills on the side and work on some projects when you have free time. Build a tiny house. Demo that weird shed that’s been sitting in your backyard since you bought the place. Build a treehouse, or a home gym. There are some good online carpentry resources, but depending on how you like to learn the best bet may be to take a class at the local community college.

Do a charity event that you believe in.

There are charity fitness events every weekend, nearly everywhere. 10ks, walkathons, 5ks, what have you. You may not believe in every cause. You might find some superfluous. But everyone has at least one cause – a disease or a displaced people or an endangered species or a beleaguered nature preserve – they care about. And each one of those causes probably has a charity fitness event that you can participate in.

Whereas going for a run might sound like torture if it’s just to obtain the purported fitness benefits, going for a run to raise money for research into a cure for Alzheimer’s might feel more worthwhile. I find that Googling “[disease/condition/cause] charity run [your location]” usually produces some good leads. If you can’t find a local event, you may be able to be a “remote runner.” Just message the event organizers and see if you can’t participate from afar.

Plus, you could always just organize your own event. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose endeavor. You don’t have to solve world peace or save the Siberian tiger. How about raising money to feed local homeless (even if it’s just a few people) or help them start a farm? Start small.

Do nature clean up.

Whether it’s beach clean-up, forest clean-up, desert clean-up, roadside clean-up, or park clean-up, just go help clean up nature. Cleaning up natural areas is hard work. It involves a lot of kneeling, bending, squatting, and lifting, so be sure to practice excellent movement quality. Bend at and lift with the hips, not the lower back. Practice that Grok squat. You can even throw in some lunges, Grok crawls, and other bodyweight movements as you clean to increase the intensity.

But most importantly, cleaning up nature, well, cleans up nature. That’s where we come from, and we need to respect it and care for it. It’s still what feels like home. It is home. I don’t care which side of the environmental spectrum you fall on. Plastic bags, food wrappers, dirty diapers, and other bits of assorted human waste and garbage do not belong in natural environments. We can all agree on that, I hope (you’re not Don Draper, are you?).

As with charity events, you can find clean-up events easily by Googling “[beach/forest/park/desert/road/environment] clean-up [your location].”

Don’t shy away from helping friends move, renovate, or tackle big jobs around the house.

Instead of making up an excuse next time a buddy asks you to help move apartments or houses, go help. Moving large, bulky, heavy furniture through doorways, around corners, and up and down stairs is a test of brains and brawn. It requires – and develops – great strength, but it also forces you to coordinate with your carrying partner and plan your approach. Between tenuous grips and oddly shaped “weights,” these definitely aren’t perfectly balanced barbells. Even something as straightforward as loading up several dozen boxes of books into a moving van is an incredibly taxing workout.

Being the friend who’s always willing to help others move to a new apartment also gets you an important perk: they’ll help you when you need to move.

I’ll admit it. Making our workouts useful, utilitarian, and objectively meaningful isn’t easy. It’ll take effort and creativity. And it might take more time than we’d like, especially when we could just hire some guys for a few bucks to handle our yard work, donate to a charity instead of participating in a charity fitness event, and pay movers. But if you find conventional exercise to be meaningless, maybe a little inconvenience is just what you need.

Let’s hear from you guys. What objectively meaningful, useful, and utilitarian workout methods can you think of?

Thanks for reading!

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110 Comments on "Why Exercise Feels Like a Drag (and What to Do About It)"

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Fritzy
Fritzy
2 years 2 days ago

Parkour!

Julian
Julian
2 years 1 day ago

Spit my coffee out. Heard in my head the crew from The Office saying it while jumping in a dumpster.

Jenna Felicity
2 years 1 day ago

Hahaha me too!!

Bayrider
Bayrider
2 years 2 days ago

Buddha is telling you to just do a few downward dogs and then take him for a long walk already.

Michele
2 years 2 days ago

I like the advice, although you’ll probably never see me mowing the lawn! Trying to keep up with playing with my kids is always a humbling experience though.

Julian
Julian
2 years 1 day ago

The first time my oldest beat me in a sprint was terribly humbling.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 1 day ago

Can I mow your lawn? I’ll just bring over my weight-laden mulcher and have a go. Mowing’s my favorite exercise–instant progress on the grass!

C Bomb
C Bomb
2 years 2 days ago

This is why I’m going to get involved in Movnat. Fun times and my kids like to play with ‘ole dad’.

BA
BA
2 years 2 days ago

How about play with your kids or grandkids. Coach their team or a neighborhood team, and actually do the running and other training that you require of them.

Erica
2 years 2 days ago

After spending the last 2 years working out ‘formally’ 5-6x a week I’m finally feeling the urge to get back to ‘real’ workouts. Like hiking, walking places and yardwork. I’m just not stimulated by running and lifting weights like I used to be!

Thomas
Thomas
2 years 2 days ago

Mark,

Do you have some ideas for those of us in colder climates? Winter is approaching here in Chicago, and active commuting (along with many other outdoor activities) is kind of out of the question when there’s 6 inches of snow and sub-sub-zero temperatures.

Cindy
2 years 2 days ago

Toronto here. On days the sidewalk is clear I walk part of my commute. I do have the option of walking another route underground if weather is bad but I find that hot and crowded. Of course if weather is bad I will have some snow shoveling and ice chopping to do.

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 2 days ago

Shovel snow?

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 1 day ago

AND chop ice–that’s my winter exercise. Instant progress on the driveway.

sweetgumbolady
sweetgumbolady
2 years 2 days ago

I work in downtown Chicago, and I made a commitment to active commuting last winter. Yeah, that one 🙁 There were some awful days, I will admit. But I’m glad I did it and overall think being outside helped me in a variety of ways. If you walk long enough and wear the right gear, you’ll find yourself getting very warm. Even the snow wasn’t always a barrier because I walked on sidewalks traveled by many people. Active commuting in a Chicago winter is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s worth considering.

Karen
Karen
2 years 1 day ago

I used to live in Chicago and as long as it was at least 20 degrees outside (ignoring the wind chill), I would walk to work. I bought a warm parka and snow boots, etc and enjoyed not being on a crowded train or bus.

Emery Smith
Emery Smith
2 years 1 day ago

Yes it is hard, that is why it should be more challenging, and a far better workout. Dig deep and get your but out there.

Darag
Darag
2 years 1 day ago

Skiing or snowboarding:) or for active commuting how about some of those Nordic skis?

Lora
Lora
2 years 2 hours ago

Winter Hikes! I lived in Wisconsin all my life. Bundle up, head to a park, and hike away. If you need a “goal” to the hike, try Geocaching. We did lots of winter geocaching in parks north of Chicago. Trails are always fairly cleared by other hikers. Lots of fun, and great exercise tromping thru the snow! Also, rode my mountain bike thru the city all winter to commute- snow or not!

Groktimus Primal
2 years 2 days ago

It’s crazy that we are essentially so out of touch with the planet that we have to simulate real living. It sounds like science fiction but so much less glamorous and interesting.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 1 day ago

Like those Google-glass-wearers…”glasses so we can still have real-time interactions.” WHY NOT JUST TAKE THE DAMN THINGS OFF?

Edie
Edie
2 years 2 days ago
How about exercise as part of a sport? Jiu Jitsu (or Boxing or Muay Thay) is a great sports that offers incredible conditioning, greater strength, lots of psychological rewards, higher self-esteem, not to mention the actual ability to defend yourself in many real-life situations. Some people may disregard it on account of being “too old”, but a good Jiu jitsu instructor will be able to tailor your training to your age and condition, and as a bonus you will make many new friends of all ages and walks of life. Some people have the prejudice that jiu jitsu academies are… Read more »
Don Cross
Don Cross
2 years 2 days ago
@Thomas, used to live in Chicago, you have no shortage of Snow and less shortage of needy folks who can’t shovel their walks/driveways. put the snowblower away get a good shovel (a serious snow shovel or a #12 grain scoop) and start helping those folks out. It is serious cardio, stretching, AND weight lifting ALL in the same session. BTW did I mention the pay it forward value of helping those folks? Based on Marks once a week concept and Chicago’s twice a week snowfall, you’ll get plenty of all the things Mark talks about in this post. Drives my… Read more »
Mindy
2 years 2 days ago

Especially if you live in a warm climate- Buy a clothesline and hang out your laundry out to dry! Good for your body and the environment.

Steve A
Steve A
2 years 2 days ago

I’d rather get fat and eat bad carbs all day then watch MSNBC! But I love the rest of the blog 🙂

Steve
Steve
2 years 2 days ago

I run up 5 flights of stairs several times a day to go to the bathroom on the 5th floor instead of the 1st floor. It’s a nice break from sitting at my desk all day.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
2 years 1 day ago

You must not have to go THAT bad if you can still run.

Ara
Ara
2 years 1 day ago

Awesome idea! Thanks!

bamboo
bamboo
2 years 2 days ago
Great article. I do ranch work. Laying tiles, hauling dirt, planting & maintaining gardens, cleaning chicken coop – there always seems like work needs to be done. Have a college kid that helps with heavy lifting – still leaving some of it for myself. I also wear a pedometer and target 10000 steps a day with a minimum of 7000 which is 3.5 miles. Winters coming and I’ll keep an eye on the pedometer during the day to make sure I’m on track – doing a loop around the property several times a day. Another thing that is good –… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
2 years 2 days ago

I believe one great reason to keep working out and staying healthy is to be ready in case of emergencies. You never know when you may need to pull yourself up and over an object, crawl 100 yards out of a crumbled building, sprint away from someone trying to harm you, being able to walk 8 miles out of the forest or canyon if lost and generally not feeling helpless when the ^#$^& hits the fan.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 1 day ago

Or crawl 100 yards away from a BURNING building!

Chica
Chica
2 years 2 days ago
Giving up some modern conveniences gets movement back into your life quite naturally and has the side-benefit of being better for the planet: Turn your gardens with a pitchfork, not a rototiller. Then go help your neighbor do theirs. Clean your house with a broom and mop, not a vacuum cleaner. Wash your dishes by hand. Beat your eggs with a whisk, not a mixer. Chop your veggies with a knife, not a food processor. Remove snow with a shovel, not a snow blower. Then go do your neighbor’s walk and driveway too. Don’t take the car and run to… Read more »
Al
Al
2 years 19 hours ago

Perfect. +1

Joelle
Joelle
2 years 2 days ago
Sounds pretty ordinary, but last Sunday DH and I made a trip to Costco, which is about 45 minutes from home. It’s a trip we make about every six weeks, and we often pick up items for friends and neighbors, too. To make a short story long, he strained his back on Friday helping a friend who’d just been released from the hospital where they kept him largely immobilized for several weeks. And so I offered to load the carts with the heavier stuff — paper products, detergent, (organic) canned tomatoes and frozen veggies, frozen meat and fish (wild caught… Read more »
Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 1 day ago

Shopping at warehouse stores is my OTHER favorite exercise–all that lifting, pushing heavy carts around, and then pushing it against foot traffic, so i have to dodge and weave that heavy cart…

Those 40-lb boxes of cat litter are my absolute favorites.

Scott 2
2 years 2 days ago

Hi Mark,
Great piece, and I really believe in doing physical work. I wash my car almost always by hand, & find it provides many benefits, including stretching, upper & lower body workout, Vit D from sun, (although the car should be in the shade, earthing, if you have a concrete, dirt or gravel driveway & do it barefoot, and a renewed appreciation for your car, and what it provides for me.
Yard work has many benefits too, as you mentioned, not the least, being “:communing” with nature.
ss

CM
CM
2 years 2 days ago

BooYah…..just did the Terry Fox run at my daughter’s school….lapped the kid 3 times. Post runner high right now and I feel GREAT!!

Diana
Diana
2 years 2 days ago
I’m 71, and can’t be bothered with going to the gym, too boring. For my exercise I look after the garden growing flowers, some vegetables and fruit ( plenty of squatting and bending there), mow the lawn regularly, do my own housework. I make preserves to sell and lift two boxes of preserves in and out of the car to take to Country Market once a week. I go with a walking group once a week for a brisk hours walk with friendly people. I also do country dancing once or twice a week. When it snows (I’m in the… Read more »
Karla Greenawalt
Karla Greenawalt
2 years 2 days ago

Something I started doing this year was biking my work commute and biking for small errands. It made me bike a lot more when I had a purpose for my biking. Doing a set mileage just for mileage, annoyed me, but when there was a task I did more and was happier and more satisfied and now I usually try to bike before I’ll drive my car.

Roy from Georgia
Roy from Georgia
2 years 2 days ago

“Hanging from an overhead bar, you pull yourself up toward it until your chest touches, then go back down and repeat it several dozen times”.

I believe you meant several times, not several DOZEN times. Come on!

Kit
Kit
2 years 2 days ago

I can barely do three, once. An exaggeration to make a point methinks. Some Sisson satire. Although I am sure many people out there could do a few more than me.

Roy from Georgia
Roy from Georgia
2 years 1 day ago

Yeah, I suppose you’re right; Mark’s tongue was deep in his cheek.

Mitch
Mitch
2 years 1 day ago

Several sets of a dozen reps equal that.

Steve
Steve
2 years 2 days ago
Our “back 40” has tall firs, native hazelnut trees, and big leaf maples, but it was also overrun with blackberries and ivy. So we removed the invasives and replaced with native plants. We created a loop path and covered it with bark fibers. Now we have our own mini-park, complete with a walking path, which we now use for fitness laps (instead of driving to a local park 3 miles each way). The physical work involved in removal, planting, weeding, wheelbarrowing, chipping, and ongoing maintenance of our “park” — and now having our own fitness walking path — have all… Read more »
Lee
Lee
2 years 2 days ago
I started running last spring as a supplement to my cycling addiction. Running also allows me to stay fit while I’m traveling for business (not easy to bring along a road bike for a business trip). To help motivate me to get out there and run, I joined an organization, Achilles International, that provides assistance to physically challenged athletes. So now, when I’m feeling lazy or tired at the end of a long work day, I think of a group of runners in Central Park waiting for me to show up so that they can get some exercise! It’s pretty… Read more »
Peter
Peter
2 years 2 days ago

I live in Maine and shovel a 50′ driveway. If we get a big storm though I won’t do it all at once. For example if we are getting a foot of snow, I’ll go out and shovel after 6″ has fallen and then later shovel the remaining 6″. Good exercise but best of all it saves me from paying a plow operator or buying and maintaining a snowblower.

Bob
Bob
2 years 2 days ago

Hi Mark,
Surprised you did not include some discussion of games in your article. Like Diana, I too am 71, I found doing sprints uphill was challenging along with 2 x15 minute HIIT sessions with weights each week but GAMES are really fun!

The best exercises are those we actually do. What about you doing a rating of all the most popular games and fun activities such as dancing in terms of their fitness benefits? Are there some that combine well to give a good upper body and lower body workout?

primal dad
primal dad
2 years 2 days ago

Hi,

I have quite a different issue, I work from home an active commute for me is walking upstairs. I love the quality of life I have from WFH but I find it really hard to get the basic level of movement into a day. I’m finding it tough to shed some lazy/convenient habits and get out more during the week.

Kai
Kai
2 years 2 days ago

I work from home now, too, along with my hubby (different jobs). In order to make sure we get out and move, we do all our grocery shopping on foot. The store is about a mile away so a full bag of food also makes a decent farmer’s carry on the way home. Some days, we pass the store and go another mile or so up the road and then double back to do the shopping.

Mitch
Mitch
2 years 1 day ago

Perhaps take a morning walk, say around a nearby park every morning before starting work – or possibly at lunch time or end of the day. It could actually make your work day more productive.

Janet
2 years 1 day ago

My hubby and I work from home, too. We get out and play tennis almost every day. Cold climates have indoor courts but we have outdoor courts here in South Carolina. It is a very active and social sport. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Lots of sprinting!

shuttlebug
shuttlebug
2 years 2 days ago
I live on 2-1/2 acres in the desert. I have a hard time staying interested in working out, so I blazed a trail around the yard – 6 laps = 1 mile. Building and maintaining the trail is much more interesting and useful. Now I’m constructing a rock garden where a cluster of baby Joshua trees is growing next to the trail. I’m having fun walking around the yard choosing rocks for this, and instead of buying gravel I’m handpicking smaller rocks and pebbles and carrying them in a bucket. It might take longer, but it sure beats a gym… Read more »
Marcia
Marcia
2 years 1 day ago

That sounds like fun! We go on vacation to the desert each year (camping at Joshua Tree). Sometimes I wonder how people survive the heat year round though.

shuttlebug
shuttlebug
2 years 1 day ago

It does cool off in the winter. Next week we’re supposed to have lows in the 40’s. And even in the summer the nights are cool.

Johnny
2 years 2 days ago
For me, commuting by skateboard isn’t an option ( unless maybe i can get through the Lincoln Tunnel with one!!!), but I just bought me and my 2 little kids some skateboards. I haven’t done it in 20+ years, but I found myself taking it out into the driveway the other night around 11pm, just because it’s so fun and I’d been thinking about it all day! I also started re-seeding some bare spots on the lawn, which took a lot longer than I planned ( I have a lot of bare spots!) and I was arguably sweatier than during… Read more »
Randy
Randy
2 years 2 days ago

Great points. What I tell people to keep motivated is, “Don’t workout…train!” I’m an archer athlete and bowhunter. All of my training is focused around successful fair chase hunting, wanting to be the best I can be. But I don’t workout because it’s boring. I train!

That’s me. What do others want to train for? Make a choice and commit!

Pastor dave Deppisch
2 years 2 days ago
I got my wife to start hiking with me–she loves it and I really have to work to keep up with her when she leads on those narrow trails. I love mowing the lawn– really! I also enjoy chasing our dog Kipper around the yard trying to get her frisbee away from her. Talk about short sprints and burpees. At work I send my stuff to the printer on another floor which forces me to walk and use the stairs. And finally, every day at lunch I either run the hills, walk for about 45 mins, or run three miles.… Read more »
Paras
Paras
2 years 2 days ago

Exercising for sport is a nice motivator. In order to excel in a sport, you can practice functional movements that translate to results in your sport of choice (yoga, parkour, baseball, hiking, kayaking, etc…). Compete with yourself and it’s a healthy obsession 🙂

Rob
Rob
2 years 2 days ago

Mark – Some of us have the good sense not to watch MSNBC, ever. Just saying.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 1 day ago

+1.

John Caton
2 years 2 days ago

I’ve got “move frequently at a slow pace” down pretty well, but I’m still looking for inspiration to “lift heavy things” and “sprint occasionally”. Actually, I’m using six flights of stairs at work to get some exercise but exercise isn’t yet a big enough part of my primal life.

SumoFit
2 years 1 day ago

“The strength of construction workers is almost unparalleled…”

When I lived in Oz many years ago, we office girls used to look forward to running errands. It gave us a chance not only to walk about and get fresh air, but also to ogle the construction and road crews. Most of these fellas were in great shape from a combination of hard yakka (physical labour), surfing and rugby.

SumoFit
SumoFit
2 years 1 day ago

…..there’s just something very sexy about a guy who does physical labour!

Kit
Kit
2 years 1 day ago
People need to be careful that they are not exercising to give themselves a boost when they do not have the constitution to sustain it. Recipe for burnout. Exercise is for healthy people. The healthier the more exercise, I suppose. If you are eating right, and a few other things, I don’t see why you can’t do a bit of heavy lifting or sprinting once in a while, as well as frequent low level movement, and chill out a bit more. A stressful job may need a bit more exercise, but a look at reducing the stress would be as… Read more »
Marcia
Marcia
2 years 1 day ago
Very interesting. Yes, I prefer “practical movement”. I miss actually biking to work – used to do it 1-2x a week, 10 miles. Sadly, with a 40-hour a week job and 2 kids, it’s too overwhelming for me now. It would take a fair bit of work to schedule it, pack everything ahead of time (get the bike ready, set out the bag and helmet, pack my work clothes, lunch and snacks, etc.) My kids think I’m crazy when I do yoga and pushups and squats at home. The two year old especially (I had to pay my 8 year… Read more »
Sarah
2 years 1 day ago

I admittedly like racing, so I do train a couple times a year for 1/2 marathons, but the rest of the time my fitness depends on home renovations, construction projects, yard work, 3 acres of lawn mowing. I shoe my horse too (equivalent of doing squats for hours!) Yes, I prefer to work hard doing useful things, most definintely. Next up, welding classes and learning how to work a forge.

Marge
Marge
2 years 1 day ago
I’ve started spading my gardens by hand in the spring. It’s a great workout, and also allows you to spade around the “volunteers” that you find growing up on their own. In the warm months, my husband and I take turns with mowing the lawn, which is excellent exercise. We also try to do most of our grocery shopping by bicycle, with panniers on the bikes. Then there is raking in the fall (not noisy, fuel-burning leafblowing), and snow-shoveling and wood-splitting (swinging an axe or maul does wonders) in the winter. And there is stacking and carrying the wood. (We… Read more »
Rose
Rose
2 years 1 day ago

We have acreage in sub-tropical Aus and I do most of the outdoor work as h works away. Have a range of heavy powered tools and often choose the manual versions as less intrusive and providing extended body benefits.

So bowsaw, Asian grass cutter, long pole saw/ lopper get frequent use. A headache from too much working with electronic devices will clear without drugs with outside work, even something quite strenuous like mattocking out tough feral shrubs.

Padmashree
Padmashree
2 years 1 day ago

I take my grocery bags into the store, and don’t use a cart. I fill my bags, and carry them around. If I am feeling really rested, I’ll collect the milk and other heavy things first. I carry my stuff around the store, through checkout and to the car (parked on purpose at the end end of the lot). This also implicitly forces me really think about what I buy…..:)
I also make hiking dates with friends to walk every day of the week instead of aimlessly stare at the TV off the treadmill.

MT Angel
MT Angel
2 years 1 day ago
I take ballet three times a week for exercise. Not only do I love ballet, but since it’s a set time with the teacher expecting me (and I’ve already paid for it), I don’t make excuses and skip out when I’m tired. Maybe non-dancerly people would like martial arts? Those with a spouse or significant other might try ballroom and/or swing. You get to spend time together and get a workout. Check out youtube videos of swing dancing from the 40’s – the music is irresistible and they move really fast, it would be a really fun workout. I also… Read more »
SumoFit
2 years 15 hours ago

“Maybe non-dancerly people would like martial arts?”

Actually, martial arts are just like dancing except that there’s no music, and you hit, kick and throw your partner on the ground!

Shawn Phillips
2 years 1 day ago

Basic advice if not all practical for many. But where is the “purpose” you spoke of?

It’s all more “doing” here and nothing much in the “being.” I don’t see the purpose.

Purpose is the true north, the source of what we call motivation. And doing more things is not a path to it. More presence is.

Less doing, more being. Trade exercise for training and practice it as a moving meditation and find yourself unstoppable, effortlessly.

Shawn

Barbie Estelle
Barbie Estelle
2 years 1 day ago
My thrice-weekly Zumba class provides an interval workout (sprints!), light weights and fun with friends. Remembering and executing the dance moves well distracts from the difficulty of the workout (which fitbot counted as burning over 1000 calories). When I feel lazy, the fact that the instructor and ‘the Zumba girls’ will be waiting for me, is enough to get my tail off the couch and to class. Between classes, my hubby & I hike, bike, kayak & walk for fun. I could use more lifting heavy things, but procrastinate as I find it boring to lift weights, even in my… Read more »
Nikolitsa
2 years 1 day ago
What a great piece! And some very inspiring comments too! My fiance absolutely hates conventional workouts, especially anything that requires him to lift something other than his own butt. He simply finds exercising this way meaningless, and thinks my crossfit workouts are brutal. On the other hand, he enjoys being actove outdoors (hiking, biking, and swimming), so we to a lot of those. We also go for a run once or twice a week, and I always challenge him to some sprint sessions! A good idea would be to install a doorway pullup bar over the bedroom door.He now does… Read more »
Sara
Sara
2 years 1 day ago
Maybe this is cheating, but I’d suggest dancing! From a cultural studies perspective, dance is as much an integral part of life as food/diet/eating, so I think it’s a very primal way to get exercise. There are great ways for everyone to get involved, such as Blues/Fusion dance which is relatively slow and low impact and can pave the way to more physically taxing forms, such as Lindy or Polka (if we’re staying in the partner dance realm). For the non-partner dance inclined, starting out with Authentic Movement or a community movement jam where you set the pace for yourself… Read more »
Tassie
Tassie
2 years 1 day ago
I guess I am lucky that I work from home and outside all the time on my Protea farm situated in a very hilly area. So whilst I do use my tractor and trailer to carry the flowers to the shed, I always walk up and down the rows picking and putting the flowers on the ground and then pick up all the flowers back to the trailer. The average weight of a bucket of Proteas is between 15-18 kilos. This bucket will be shifted on average five times before it gets to the customer. On average I probably have… Read more »
Sandra
Sandra
2 years 1 day ago
Great article Mark. I have a great way of dealing with exercise, as a retired physiotherapist sadly I hate gym with a vengeance but, I have a small part time job working in my local supermarket, picking and crating up the online shopping orders. This involves walking around the store for 4 hours pushing the equivalent of three shopping trollies full of goods, swinging that round corners is great for the abs, stacking the 6 full crates one on top of the other takes the squats and the lift heavy items and the walking, well I do about 8 km… Read more »
Chris
Chris
2 years 1 day ago
Try training with other people. I used to cycle for 30 minutes on my exercise bike, in the bedroom, followed by 15 minutes strength training. At first I looked forward to this ‘me’ time, but then it started to get repetitive and I was losing time with my family in the evenings. So then one night I said to my husband, who is always professing to start lifting the weights we bought him, that I would do my workout session with him. I skipped the cycling and just doubled the strength exercises. It was so much more energising to exercise… Read more »
victor
victor
2 years 1 day ago

Seems like “going into construction work” isn’t the most practical(or useful) piece of advice you’ve made Mark.

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