I am inherently a lazy person. I like the idea of movement that just fits into my life, doesn’t require a lot of dedicated time in a special location (gym or studio), and is “natural” for what my body is designed to do.
This is why I’m a fan of walking. This is also why I love weightlifting.
If you want to look at it through the lens of “naturalism” – which is abused by so many online gurus (think, Paleo, Primal, or other diets based on misrepresenting science and anthropology to sell the idea that you are supposed to eat and move in ways that are in accordance with the guru’s message) – we are designed to WALK. That’s what we do really well, as a species.
We are designed to walk upright on our legs and to walk for long periods of time in relative comfort. If we are relatively physically healthy, uninjured, walking is what we do really well.
Walking is underrated as exercise. But it’s the easiest and – dare I say it – BEST exercise for most people. Because it’s “easy” for most people, it’s sometimes set aside as not being serious enough to make a difference in fat or weight loss. But doesn’t it make sense that something you CAN DO without training or equipment, something relatively easy to do almost any time or place, would also improve your overall fitness? Doesn’t it make sense that you can improve your cardiovascular fitness, lose fat, and keep your mobility levels up by doing something that is relatively easy to do every day?
We are also designed for lifting and carrying things. Progressively increasing weight lifted over time is how muscles grow. We are designed to adapt to heavier loads by BUILDING MORE MUSCLE. We are designed to REPAIR muscle tissue by BUILDING MORE MUSCLE. How cool is that?
You know what else is cool about weightlifting? It doesn’t take very much time – in fact, TOO much time can be detrimental. You can do a full body, progressive lifting program in less than an hour, 1 or 2 or 3 times a week, and show strength improvements within just a few weeks. Less than an hour, a few times a week, over a few months and you show noticeable muscle gains. Spending 2 hours in the gym, doing elaborate lifting programs might be appropriate for a bodybuilder or specialized athlete, so – again – no judgement. But for most of us, it’s totally unnecessary. A basic, 45 minute lifting program, twice a week, is sensible and reachable – and doesn’t require dedicating hours of your life.
Like I said, I’m lazy. Why should I do MORE than is necessary to get the benefits I want & need? Why should I spend HOURS in the gym, when MINUTES will get me exactly what I want?
[I like doing these things. But you know what? I don’t judge anyone else if they DON’T like them. The great thing about these bodies we live in: they are adaptable and responsive. Find the thing you enjoy that moves your body – your body will respond to it. Maybe the thing you enjoy isn’t as “natural” as walking – maybe you like sprinting, maybe you like punching & kicking, maybe you like backbending. All those things can also be good. Maybe they require a special location where you go to do them. That’s okay, too.]
The primary thing is that you are moving. Your body likes moving.
So remember: if you don’t have access to a gym, you can walk, and it still counts.
One last thing: you know what else we are designed, as a species, to do really well? REST.
Rest. Sleep. Take a break. Don’t work so hard. Be kind to yourself.