I’m making a rare Sunday post for a good reason. I kept hearing during the coffee hour at church how many people were resolving to diet and exercise this year and lose weight.
Exercise is literally a waste of time and energy. I’m not saying it isn’t good for you in some cases, I’m saying that if you need to exercise what you really need is a lifestyle change.
Stop and think about it, if you need to exercise what is it you really need? You need to move your body, to use your muscles, to bend and stretch and move and use your body. What you really need to do is bend and stretch and move and use your body all day long in reasonable amounts, which means moving your butt off the couch and playing Wii instead of whatever video game you have been playing, riding a bike instead of driving your car to the corner for a latte, or lottery ticket, or whatever you get from the convenience store other than gas. Think about the things you do that you can do by moving your body instead of pushing a button or a gas pedal, think about how you can arrange your life so that you can do things without depending on a machine to do it for you.
Think about your commute. If you spend 30 minutes driving or taking the bus but you could take a bike in 45, that’s 30 minutes a day you have saved by not needing to go to the gym, not 15 minutes lost to your commute extra. If you can squeeze in 30 minutes a day of mild aerobic activity like walking or riding a bike at a non-sweaty pace, you have added years to your life, if your commute takes 30-45 minutes a day by bike then you have gotten all the physical activity you need to stay healthy.
Think about your home, are there things that you are doing with a machine or paying someone else to do that you could be doing yourself? As an example I have a walk-behind mower that I push to cut my lawn, that I spent about $200 for 3 years ago, before that I used to pay $25 every 2 weeks for someone else do it for me. Now I get a couple hours of low impact aerobics every other week and I save $25 every 2 weeks, that works out to $500 a year with the long mowing season we have in TX. Of course I still have to buy gas for the mower, but before I paid the guy to mow the lawn I had the kind of mower that only required pushing it to mow the grass, that one only cost me $80 and paid for itself in 8 weeks. Unfortunately this kind of mower requires mowing every week or the grass will become too high to use that kind of mower. But think of the exercise you get from using that kind of mower!
The formula for weight loss doesn’t change. You still have to burn more calories than you take in, and you have to keep your activity up so that your metabolism doesn’t shut down when you decrease the amount of calories you take in. Your body wants to hold on to your fat, fat helps you survive in times of famine so when you decrease your caloric intake your body assumes that is because of decreased food availability and tries to hang on to your fat stores by slowing down your metabolism.
What adding activity does is make your body think there is still lots of food out there but the food is harder to get, and keep you from holding on to that fat that might slow you down from getting the food. In other words you fool your body into burning your fat by being more active. You can either be more active in a gym, spending money, or you can be active in daily life, saving money. If you have money as well as fat to burn by all means, burn your money in a gym and stimulate the economy. If on the other hand your budget is strained to the breaking point…