There is an ongoing debate I have with some of my other health-minded friends. A lot of people I know are very fitness-focused: they go to the gym several times a week, participate in Spartan runs and 5K’s and half marathons almost every weekend in the summer.
This is great: it builds endurance and teaches perseverance and discipline, and helps keep them competitive for sports and other activities.
The problem I’ve seen, however, is that these people almost always ignore diet as a tool to improve their athletic performance, and even as a tool to help them reach their health and fitness goals.
I wonder if it’s possible to eat (and drink) whatever you want and use exercise exclusively to reach every health goal.
Without a doubt, exercise is important, and can boost your body’s efficiency and especially your endurance for athletic competition, but is it everything?
Admittedly, I am not very disciplined when it comes to working out. I find gyms tedious and smelly, and I just can’t get into exercise solely for the sake of exercise.
I used to spend hours on the elliptical, reading magazines and books, and I did get into great shape doing that, but it wasn’t fun for me. And what isn’t fun is hard to continue in the long run. I prefer to do fun, active things.
Now, I enjoy a good game of ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, or a quick footrace around the block. But long hours at the gym and jogs around the neighborhood have never been my idea of a good time.
Should I be worried about my exercise routine (or lack thereof)?
And I’m not sure it’s what we’re built for anyway.
Our ancestors got plenty of exercise, but mostly in spurts: running from danger, playing with the little ones, chasing prey, or bends and squats when picking vegetables. Exercise has traditionally been woven into the fabric of our lives.
Modern culture has made us more sedentary than ever, though, so what are we to do? Spend all day in front of a computer at work and then spend an hour or two at the gym before scarfing down a quick dinner, watching TV and collapsing into bed every night? It seems like we don’t have any other choice.
Or do we?
(Stay tuned for Part 2 of Hunter, Gatherer or Both?)