How To Work Out Without Working Out
Have you visited a drive-through restaurant or bank today? Used an escalator or elevator? Or drove over to the grocery store 900 yards down the road? You cheated yourself out of a lot of exercise.
A Mammoth Problem
To exercise doesn’t mean having to run without wanting to go anywhere or lifting a weight without purpose. All these are substitutes for what we don’t do anymore, but what our bodies are designed for: trailing a mammoth, throwing a spear at and finally wrestling it down with our fellow huntsmen.
The problem is the last time most of us saw a mammoth was at a natural history museum and attacking it would lead to no steaks, but a lot of time at the local police station. Which is why jogging and dumbbells were invented.
Anything Is Exercise
Yet even if you hate gyms or if the thought of sweating in front of your TV to the tune of some fitness DVD is as pleasant to you as imagining getting your toe nails pulled out, you can still give your body a bit of what it was meant to do. You just need to slightly alter some of the things you do anyway:
- Don’t use escalators or elevators, take the stairs
- Park further away from the entrance when you visit shopping malls and the like
- Walk to the local grocery store or, if you have to buy more, take a bike
- Don’t use drive-throughs and drive-ins
Each of these tiny little habits makes a small difference and they can add up to 200-400 extra calories burned per day, without you consciously trying to work out or setting up extra time for it in your daily schedule.
Please don’t tell me doing this will take so much longer time and you are always busy. Stairs are always there, while for an elevator you have to wait. And finding parking space for your car at the grocery store sometimes takes longer than riding your bike right up to the entrance and putting it into the bike rack many places have.
Extra Mile For Baldwin Park
Three months ago the small city of Baldwin Park, CA, came to a similar conclusion and put out a ban on new drive-through restaurants being erected. Ironically this was also the place where this kind of restaurant was invented – “In-N-Out” will probably ring a bell for many Californians. But citizens weren’t happy and Wallet Pop got this from one of them:
“This is California, where it all began, man,” says Max Weston, an In-N-Out regular who “never gets out of my car for a burger.” He says that cities shouldn’t determine where and how restaurant goers fill their bellies. “Staying in my car means as much to me as eating the food.”
Which is a bit amusing, as the next paragraph reads:
Then again, Weston is trying to lose a few pounds, so spacing the restaurants farther apart “may not be a bad thing,” he added. “I might go less often.”
You might even walk a bit more, Mr. Weston.
Picture courtesy of Sam Mugraby.
There’s always time to get some form of activity in no matter how busy you are unless I suppose you’re literally stuck in a cubicle 24/7 (though I just had a vision of a guy in a business suit doing pushups in his work area while the boss was looking away :p).
You’d be surprised how much doing little things like taking the stairs, walking across the parking lot and just fidgeting around can add up to in the long run.
Yeah I always try to walk instead of taking the escalator etc. Only when I’m really tired do I take the easy way.
I walk up stairs in a calf raising-manner, since I don’t have calf raises in my routine. Double bass + calf work in everyday life is all I do for ’em ^^
How do you increase weight doing that? “Excuse me, Ma’am, do you mind if I carry you up the stairs? I need to do my calf workout!” 🙂
Yea.. my dr told me about the parking farther away trick.. I do it now and the other benefit is I don’t have to fight for parking (no one wants to park that far back).
Yep! And the other advantage is: You’ll never get dents from people hitting your doors with theirs or bumping into you car with their shopping trolley 🙂
I’ve seen people drive their cars from one parking lot to the next when in a long strip of big box stores… As opposed to parking in the middle, and walking to each one. What a wasted opportunity 🙁
My biggest regret about the area I bought my house is that things are so spread out that driving is the only option for a lot of my shopping (they frown on people walking on highways). Fortunately I have a dog, so daily walks are still part of my life.
Let me tell you: When I lived in the US, I walked to the local Wal-Mart, which meant down some residential streets and across a highway. There were no sidewalks and people stared at me like I was a fugitive on the run.