While nobody wants to discourage you from checking into the local fitness center for a regular tune-up, the gym should generally be thought of as a boost to an all-around healthy lifestyle. That means taking regular walks, not spending too much time in one position, and managing calories while eating a balanced diet.
This is how the human animal evolved. It’s also a kinder way to treat your body and soul than saving up your physical energy for a blow-out workout once a week.
But if natural exercise is how our ancestors kept trim, it doesn’t necessarily resonate with the way we live our lives today. Whether you’re working in an office or keeping a home, the concept of ‘work as workout’ may seem pretty alien to you.
There are two ways to combat this and engage your body. One is to mentally (or even verbally!) acknowledge the exercise that is part of your daily routine already.
The other is to make a habit of transforming your tasks into mini-exercise routines. That might mean taking the stairs to work instead of the elevator; or using a shopping basket rather than a trolley at the store.
The people at Budget Direct have put some thought into ways to get you started. Their new infographic is a double-whammy: it suggests some ways to count the calories coming off around the house while dispelling some myths about the health food you invest in with such good intentions.
Take hummus for example. A 110g serving comes with a surprising 208 calorie payload – and that’s if you eat it with a healthy carrot stick! You’d be surprised how many people pile on the calories by disguising fatty chips under layers of ‘healthy’ hummus.
It’ll take 27 minutes of lawn-mowing and 13 minutes of trimming the shrubs in your garden (23 and 10 for a man) to burn off those calories.
Of course, hummus is essentially a healthy food. But it’s what the manufacturers add to it that makes it such a nightmare. Here’s an idea: why not make your own? That way you’ll know just what’s gone into it. Organic ingredients with no long ‘E numbers’. Good quality oil – and not too much of it. Plenty of spices to quickly satisfy your need to graze. And making it will get you up off the couch for an extra ten minutes, too.
You must be nuts
Muesli bars are another health fanatic’s ‘quick fix’ that may do more harm than good. Again, the choice of brand and variety makes a big difference. A cereal bar packed with added sugars and flavoring can carry a 180-calorie whack. And you finished it in seconds!
When you’re hungry for a snack, it may be healthier to eschew the convenience of the mass-produced seed bar and get back to basics by preparing a small plate of raw nuts and raisins.
Otherwise, it could take an hour and a half or more of non-strenuous cleaning to burn off that bar. And if you’re going to do the cleaning workout anyway, why waste it on working off unnecessary calories?
The solution to too many (nutritionally negligible) rice cakes is a bit more fun.
A rice cake covered in Marmite might set your goals back by up to 400 calories. But plan an evening of ballroom dancing and you can shake that weight off in a couple of hours. That’s 54 minutes of getting ready (doing your hair is exercise, right?), the same again dancing vigorously across the floor, and then half an hour of showering and toweling off.
Any natural exercise you take later in the evening can be considered a bonus!
Article written by G. John Cole.