Have you heard about the new wonder drug on the market? It will make you thinner, happier, and less tired. It will energise your sexy time, help you to go to sleep when you want to, and bring your stress level down to Planet Earth.
It reduces the odds of you getting painful, life-threatening illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s. It’s just as good as antidepressants for treating depression, and it’s coming to a town near you!
No, it’s not caffeine, green tea, kale, fish oil, or any of the myriad miracle-promising pills on the market. It hasn’t been created in some high-tech lab somewhere.
Yes that’s right, it’s boring old exercise. The wonder drug that will cure all of society’s ills is what our doctors have been nagging at us to do for years—we need to exercise. We need to walk to work, join a sports team, get a gym membership.
There’s just one problem though. We’re not doing it.
Half of us millennials aren’t exercising—and there’s pretty good evidence that the other half is lying. We tell ourselves that we’re too busy. That we’ll do it tomorrow. That we worked too late, and now we need to veg out in front of TV for the rest of the night. That’s there’s no point exercising today because we’ve already broken the rules by giving in to that seductive Snickers Bar.
When did exercising become such a chore for everyone? When we were kids, we played tag, we scaled trees, we mastered the monkey bars—and we did it all of our free will. But these days, you would only catch me running outside if I was in the Hunger Games.
Exercise has become tarnished by the “good for you” brand. It’s something that we feel guilty about, rather than something we look forward to. We all know that we’re meant to be exercising at least 30 minutes a day, but the days tick by, and we’re still sitting on our couches.
We’re too tired, too stressed, too happy—we have a whole list of reasons why we can’t do it today. The motivation of exercising because “it’s good for you” is too nebulous, it’s in a future that we can’t even imagine. Putting effort into something that can be tedious and hard just isn’t on the menu for our fast-paced, Get Rich Quick culture. We think only of the short-term benefits of putting our feet up, and it never occurs to us that all of these missed opportunities might be adding up to us facing an adulthood being chronically ill.
You know what would help us? If we just started subscribing to the school of Good Enough. If we just told ourselves that anything is better than nothing, and got on with it. We don’t all need to turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger—all we really need to do is make more of an effort to grab a couple of minutes of exercise here and there.
There are easy hacks to getting a bit of exercise without turning into an obnoxious Gym Bunny. Make a point of doing a big shop and channel your inner Incredible Hulk to carry your groceries home. Drink way too much water so you’re constantly getting up to go to the bathroom. Leave a pair of crappy gym shoes at work so you can nip out for a 10-minute walk at lunch. If you’re set on a TV marathon, watch it sitting on the ground—instead of sitting there like a lump, you’ll be stretching and adjusting your position, keeping your body active. Be that perky person who offers to jog to the local shops when something runs out. And become one of those wretched people who make a point of taking the stairs instead of the lift.
Exercise: Coming to stores near you.
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