People imagine having to dedicate hours to insane workouts or worse, they might think of extreme sports that they’d hate like, perhaps, skateboarding and skydiving. I think this is because the term ‘active’ can have so many meanings. We hear the word being used in commercials with a visual of a man diving off a building and the tag line “Active men use this deodorant” and it sets an expectation about what ‘active’ really means.
Some people think you have to be skinny to be active. Again this is because the media often uses the term ‘active’ while showing incredibly toned bodies with 6 pack abs. Subconsciously, this can make us associate an active lifestyle with too much hard work and danger. So if you, like so many others, find yourself saying “I’m not cut out for this active lifestyle thing” let me try and change your mind.
The perils of our modern lifestyle
The modern world of technology and advanced transport has changed the way we live. We often spend far too much time sitting at a desk staring at a screen. And, it’s a sign of the times that many people go straight from front door, to car, to parking lot. Then they ride the elevator up to their offices, often with no fresh air in between leaving the house and arriving in the office.
Being active doesn’t take much; adding a walk around the block or even to a colleague’s desk can at least get you up and out of your chair. I always like see how people mix up their commutes by adding a walk, climbing the stairs or even cycling if they’re feeling courageous.
Talking of bikes, have you seen the ’push bikes’ that now have engines on the back? Or the little motorized scooters? I bet that no one dreamed how popular these would become back in the 1990s…
Technology is wonderful but it has made us a little lazy. Just because you can sit on a bike and let it propel you to your destination, it may not be the best choice for your body especially if you want to stay healthy.
Find your own ‘active’
Finding the level of activity that is right for your body is the best piece of advice I can give you. Increasing your activity level can be as simple as taking a midday stroll or as dramatic as training for a marathon. Once you make a commitment to increasing your activity level, guess what? Every few weeks your body will adapt and you may be inspired to take it to the next level.
In my world the meaning of ‘active’ changes every day. Some days it’s riding real bikes around the yard with my kids and other days it’s an extreme mountain trail adventure… Both are active, both are enjoyable and both are fun!
Getting on the activity ladder is often the biggest step of all, but now that you know that being active does not have to mean skydiving and high intensity workouts, you may be ready to start climbing up your ladder to a more active life.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.