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Are You Active Enough?

The Human Body Was Designed To Move

Walking, running, climbing, jumping. We needed these skills in order to survive the many dangers of man’s early life in the wild. Unpredictable weather, wild animals and the constant need for food required us to stay active and ready at all times.

Life was a lot tougher, but we were also healthier.  As society developed, modern conveniences made life much easier for us. We had shelter from the elements, readily available food and the ability to travel much greater distances with much less physical effort.

Modern Society Does Offers Many Benefits And Comforts, But At What Cost?

Many of us now spend our days sitting. We sit at a desk in work. Sit in the car, bus or train, sit at the kitchen table, and then for a change, sit in front of the tv or a computer in our spare time. The only activity in the average person’s day might be walking from the house to the car and the car to the shop or the office.

As the body becomes less and less active, it eventually begins to slow down and become stagnant before eventually seizing up like a rusty gate. What effect is this increasing level of inactivity having on our health? For people living in the developed world, lack of activity has become one of the biggest causes of illness and disease!

The Importance Of Physical Activity

Does being active only mean exercising? No, being active means moving your body. It is important to work intensely enough that you break a sweat and are breathing heavily as it will help to clear toxins from your body, burn fat, tone up your muscles and keep your heart healthy, as well as being essential if you want to see results. But your activity should extend into the rest of your day too.

It has been show that as little as 30 minutes of physical activity each day can help to keep you healthy and have positive effects on many illnesses such as heart disease,arthritis, osteoporosis, obesity, and cancer. I think you should view 30 minutes as the minimum amount of daily activity  you should be aiming for.

You will actually feel better physically and mentally when you are using your body more, whereas you will find yourself feeling tired and sluggish if you spend all your time sitting.

The more active you become, the more active you will want to be. You will also notice an increase in energy levels!

For People Who Are Already Active

The vast majority of people are not active enough, or over estimate how active they actually are. I’ll use myself as an example. I’m quite an active guy, between my job, which involves me being active and working on new exercises and workouts for classes and clients, and in my own time when I work on my own fitness. But I also spend a considerable amount of time sitting in front of a computer. Could I be more active during my day? I think so, so I make sure to get up and move around and stretch or walk to break up my computer time.

At this point you might be thinking, do you need to be moving non stop to be healthy? We could all benefit from moving more, but to be balanced we also need time to include rest.

How Much Rest And Recovery Do We Actually Need?

The level of intensity of your activities will determine how much rest you require, as well as your training experience. You might workout once or twice per week or for the more experienced, five or even six times per week. As you become more active your body will adapt and become quicker and more efficient at recovering. It’s also important to be aware of the different forms of rest you can use to help promote recovery and healthier body, and it turns out that one of the best forms of rest actually increases your level of activity!

Active Rest

Obviously sleep is important, regardless of your activity level, but rest doesn’t necessarily have to mean sleeping. Or sitting in front of the tv. You can still be active and get the benefits of rest. How? Active rest. So what is active rest? Basically any activity that won’t overly tax your body can be considered active rest. Activities like walking, swimming, stretching, yoga, or going for a bike ride are all great examples of active rest.

Finding A Way To Stay Active Everyday For Everyone

I currently lift weights three times per week and also do a combination of HIIT, circuit training and a little steady state cardio on the days in between or sometimes mixed in with the weight training sessions.

I also go for walks out in the nearby cornfields (which always reminds me of the start of the movie Gladiator :) ), or up on the nearby cliffs. I also do yoga once or twice per week, usually at the weekend, and use these activities as  my active rest.

I feel being outdoors, getting lots of fresh air and just staying active helps me to perform better when I do train more intensely. It also makes daily activities much easier as I’m using body the way it was designed to work.

Howth Head, Dublin, Ireland. I love going for walks here during the summer.

The point I’m hoping to get across is that being active can be incorporated throughout your day, even for resting, not just when you are working out. Being more active can help you to connect with your body and encourage you to take better care of your health.

Active Challenge

As a positive challenge for the rest of the week, try to be more active during your day, whether it’s doing a workout or simply enjoying some gentle activity like walking or stretching. Not only will you feel better, but you will look better too!!

As always let me know what you think…

11 Responses to "Are You Active Enough?"

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