I'm old enough to remember the late 70s and early 80s very well, and one thing that strikes me so clearly about those early memories of mine is that obesity really wasn't a big problem back then.
It wasn't that we had a wonderful diet during those times. I remember the sugar-laden school dinners (I mean, custard for pudding every single day?), and the tuckshops where you could buy anything so long as it was smothered in chocolate.
So what was our secret to maintaining our slim-ish figures back then?
We moved a lot more.
We walked to school. We didn't have Playstations or X-boxes, so fun for us was climbing trees, riding our bikes, kicking a ball around wherever there was space (yes, even streets). Our parents also moved a lot more. They commuted shorter distances, had more physically active jobs, and walked more because the shops were always a 5 or 10 minute walk away for most people. Nobody thought of ever driving those triflingly small distances.
Compare that today's sedentary lifestyle, and it feels shocking doesn't it? Now we have every excuse under the sun not to get out under the sun! I don't have the time, because I get home so late due to a long commute. It's too dangerous for me to walk in my neighbourhood. It's too dangerous for my kids to play outside. The local shops are too expensive, so I drive to the big out of town Tescos.
Do me a favour - file those excuses away into the cabinet just under the desk - yes, the one that looks like a bin.
Breaking habits is hard. We all know that. However, here's a habit for you to consider: move more! Getting to move your body more and more is such a life-enriching, health-enhancing, ENJOYABLE habit to take up.
Here are some suggestions for you to consider:-
- Walk. Walking can be done 12 months a year. Any local shops in your area? Walk to them. If the walk is long enough, then I'd say it's OK to buy yourself a little guilty-pleasure treat when you get there. Walk for the sake of walking. Find a nice park nearby, walk to it. Walk around it. Bring your headphones. Download a walking app. Set some walking goals
- Go swimming. Swimming is a wonderful exercise that really stretches the body, and try as you might, but it's actually really difficult to get an injury from swimming. What's more, you don't need to be "in shape" to swim. In my local pool, I see people doing all kinds of exercises in the pool - including WALKING. Walking in water is a great workout.
- Buy a push bike. Feel the rush of wind as you cycle by the local streets - feel how invigorating that feels. Buy a small backpack with some food and drink, and discover your area on your bike
- Need some professional help to develop the exercise habit? See out a professional trainer. They will assess you and find a plan for you that you can incorporate into your everyday life.
Notice anything missing from the above? That's right. I never mentioned running, and I never mentioned anything about going to the gym. Not that there's anything wrong with those forms of exercise, it's just that they can seem a little daunting to many people - and all of the recommendations above can be done by almost anyone with almost zero chance of injury.Article kindly sponsored by rightpathfitness.co.uk who provide Personal Training in Hackney