Is technology and progress making us lazy?
Are we too lazy, busy or disinterested to put an effort into everyday things?
And, is this convenience, actually causing us to be inconvenienced in the long term? Are we going to pay the price of progress with our health?
OK, I can hear you already: What is she on about?
I’m talking about:
– self opening and closing car boots
– direct to boot, or home grocery delivery
– take away meal delivery
– remote control everything
Has our busy-ness caused us to stop doing anything manually? Or are we just being conditioned to be lazy in the name of “convenience”.
“car owners: you have your hands full, so just wave your foot under your car and hey presto! the boot will open, and it closes at the click of a button. No need to stretch, pull down and close anymore”
And don’t get me started on those arm chairs that tilt to tip you up and out.
I know that these inventions are fantastic for people who are genuinely incapacitated: a frozen shoulder can make closing the car boot a difficult task.
But, honestly, the rest of us should be able to do these simple things.
Because, the less you use your body now, the weaker and stiffer you become as you age. And that leads to falls, injuries etc.
Not that I’m advocating a return to pre-washing-machine days, but think back a couple of generations. People used to work their garden to grow food; they would hand wash clothes; scrub floors; walk to get groceries (a little bit every day).
Movement was just a part of daily life.
And it isn’t anymore, for most of us anyway.
A client recently mentioned that her doctor told her to exercise 4 to 5 times a week.
“5 times a week!” another client gasped, clearly shocked/horrified at the thought.
But yes! We need more doctors like the one my friend saw.
Our lives are so “convenient” these days that, not only do we sit all day long, when we do get up, our lives have been automated, remote controlled and “simplified” so that we rarely have to reach, stretch, pull, push or do anything. So yes, we do need to make the effort to exercise daily.
What’s the ideal?
Government guidelines say we should do 150 minutes of cardio exercise a week. That’s the kind of exercise that leaves you a bit breathless. That’s around 23 minutes per day. You could dance; run; skip; vacuum; swim… the list goes on.
On top of that, we should be doing strength work a couple of times a week. This is to build muscle mass and bone density: both of these decline from age 30 and both are linked to falls in “old age”.
A bit of restorative exercise like stretching as well as balance work all make a well rounded movement routine.
And I hate to say it, but I will: Just Do It.
Even if you think you don’t like exercise. You just have to do it.
This article recently appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald:
(I know this talks mainly about over 65’s, but remember: what you do NOW, will impact how you age. Negatively, or positively)
Better bones, stronger muscles and a happier heart — the benefits of exercising into old age are big
‘Use it or lose it’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Australian Department of Health and Aged Care recommend people aged 65 and older do about 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. But data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows half of this cohort isn’t that active.
“It’s one of those things, we know it’s working [exercise], we just need to encourage people to do it more,” Professor Levinger said.
She also explained that ideally, exercise in older age should target the heart and lungs, with a bit of strength and resistance training too.
There should also be a focus on balance exercises.
“The heart has less capacity to function efficiently like it used to when we were younger,” Professor Levinger said.
“And the same with the respiratory system. We often might feel a bit breathless when we get older.”
Then there’s the issue of muscles getting weaker.
“If we don’t use them and preserve the strength we have, we lose muscle mass and strength and that will have a direct impact on how we function,” Professor Levinger said.
Click here to read it all
So, what will YOU do?
You may think I’m bossy.
You may think I’m a grumpy woman who dislikes progress. I’m not (although I am the one with the manual car boot)
That’s fine, but just promise me that you’ll make exercise daily part of your life (given you’ve read this far, I’m going to assume you’re interested in what I had to say)
– walk around the block at lunchtime
– ride a bike to the shops
– do pushups on the kitchen bench while the kettle boils
– do squats while supervising homework
I was lucky enough to be in Europe this summer and everyone is out and about walking and riding. Not for exercise, but as a mode of transport. Exercise is a part of everyday life.
Open invitation to join me:
If you live anywhere near me Sydney’s upper north shore, you’re welcome to join my classes. We have barre, Pilates and outdoor fitness on the timetable and I’d love you to join us. We work hard and laugh a lot!
Click here to get your $7 for 7 days trial week