Friday, November 21, 2008

Switching Seasons Means Kicking Up Your Activity

“In the past few weeks, I've had numerous people come up to me and say, ‘Now that fall is here, I can't seem to get into a regular exercise program!’ When there is a shift in weather, there is a definite shift in lifestyle, just a natural effect. Unfortunately, for many people the after-dinner walks in the spring and summer dissipate and outside activities such as gardening and swimming are pushed aside until warmer weather returns, typically half a year away. Therefore, if you find that fall brings you indoors and you're more prone to sit versus doing a sit-up, perhaps you should approach exercise with a different mind-set. When you go to the gym or go out for a walk, it is conscious exercise. In other words, you have set aside your specific days and times to walk, go to yoga class or whatever activity fills your calendar, you're there. Exercise has become more of a conscious commitment, which means we no longer seek out everyday opportunities for moving our body, also known as subconscious exercise. Let me explain: When I was younger, I played outside; we didn't have video games or computers. My mother cleaned our house, hung laundry out to dry and did some yard work. All of those activities fall under the category of subconscious exercise. Today, kids don't play outside like they used to, many are in organized sports and then its homework (typically three to four hours worth) and sedentary activities. In households where both parents work, typically they do not clean their own homes, mow their own lawns and they certainly don't hang laundry outside. In other words, subconscious exercise is minimal, if at all.We have certainly watched the girth of our nation expand along with hours that people sit. Therefore, we have to find creative ways to become more subconsciously active, but it can only happen when conscious exercise commitments come in to play. Take a look at your lifestyle: How many hours of conscious exercise are you getting? Ideally it should be about three hours a week (180 minutes), which really isn't that much when you consider the average American spends about 170 minutes a day watching TV and 101 minutes driving, according to a 2006 International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association report. If you are able to commit to conscious exercise, it will be enhanced by including subconscious exercise habits, which was the norm 25 to 30 years ago. Find the areas in your life where you can naturally become more active. If you can strike a balance between conscious and subconscious activity, your body will thank you!”

Naperville Sun

No comments: