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Should I Exercise?

Often when people talk about ‘needing’ to exercise or to go to the gym, they’re referring to a desire to lose weight.

Of course, exercise can be an important part of any weight loss journey, and it probably should be, but it is not critical to the achievement of weight loss. A carefully managed diet is far more useful for that.

Exercise Outdoors

Great! So we don’t need to exercise then do we?

Actually, yes we do. But don’t panic, the exercise you remember from PE at school and try your hardest to avoid, like running, circuit training and the Mr Motivator style aerobics may not be the answer.

 

 

There is certainly nothing wrong with more intense exercise, I recommend and indeed teach boxing, kettlebells, circuit and weight training, among other disciplines, but they are not strictly necessary for good health.

Research has shown that moderate exercise is likely to be far more important if you want to live a long and healthy life. The longest living populations in the world, who enjoy minimal obesity, heart disease and diabetes rates are not doing Insanity or sparring on the beach. These populations are doing a lot of walking, farming, manual tasks and are just generally very active.

In fact , the three longest living, which are; Okinawa in Japan, Lomu Linda in California and Sardinia in Italy, all do around 10-12 hours of moderate physical activity each day, usually in groups and usually outdoors. Common activities include fishing, farming, tending gardens and going on organized walks amongst many others. It all counts as exercise, and it would appear to be the perfect intensity for a long healthy life.

It is probably no coincidence that in our ancestral past we lived in tight social groups and led similarly active outdoor lives. Of course, medical science and technology have sent life expectancies soaring all over the developed world, but it is interesting to note that the longest living on the planet seem to have the most in common with our evolutionary roots.

It’s not just the exercise that gives the longevity of course. Their social lifestyle is important as is the large amount of outdoor time. Other commonalities between the longest living populations are; healthy, fresh and largely organic diets, no smoking at all, tight family bonds, low stress levels and a large amount of plant based food.

So where does that leave us? 

We need to decide what we actually want to get out of exercise, how much time do we have, what type of exercise do we enjoy and are we doing everything else we can to stay healthy at the same time?

In choosing what is best for you, consider all of the available information, and choose something that you enjoy and that suits you. But rest assured that you don’t need to drag yourself to an intense spin class or take up running in order to lose weight and get healthy, and you certainly don’t need to stress yourself out getting up at 5am to go to the gym.

There are potentially greater benefits to your longevity and health from simply walking as much as you can, being generally active, managing your stress, eating healthily, and having an active social calendar.

And that doesn’t sound too bad at all now does it?