Mindset shift: consciously seek and relish physical efforts

Our bodies have evolved in an energy-scarce environment and our instinct and physiology are geared towards conserving as much energy as possible, which make us expend the least amount of effort each time we do a physical task. That was adapted to our biological needs when we had to do a lot of physical activity during the day, just to be able to eat the calories we need. We now live in an energy-abundant environment and our typical lifestyle involves very little movement throughout the day.

What can we do to mitigate that? Consciously maximize our physical efforts for every task we are doing. Groceries shopping for example: forget the trolley, grab a basket. Then carry the basket in one arm so that it makes you work out: bend the arm and carry it at chest level, or keep the arm straight and carry it in front of you. Same when you carry a backpack: instead of carrying it on your back for the least physical expenditure, carry it in a chest carry, with the handle on one arm, etc.

You’ll be amazed how fast you will be strained and all these times are real training volume, just without the need to dedicate your time to training, you do it while doing one of your other activities.

In practice

Given our busy lifestyle today, time to move is most probably your limiting factor, not will or capacity to learn, so multitask and seize all the moments you can to train and develop your strength or mobility.

Use Opportunistic Training to train efficiently, even in 10 mins, wherever you are: hotel room while traveling, playground watching over the kids, waiting for your kids to finish activities or school, lunch break, etc.

Use Simultaneous Training to train while you are doing other activities. You can multitask here simply by:

  • adding movement to an existing activity: while walking, you can stretch your fingers and hands pretty effectively, even some arms stretches are doable. When brushing your teeth, etc. There are many situations where you can add movement while doing an activity you have to spend time doing, in any case.
  • maximizing the intensity and complexity of a movement you’re already doing: while carrying groceries, don’t use the handles on the bags, but grip them with your hands to work on, you guessed it, your grip strength (and telle me how long you last!). Same when you carry a single bottle: grip it in your weak hand and carry it that way. After a few mins you will feel the strain.
  • use any waiting time you might have while doing another activity: walking and waiting at the traffic light to cross the road? Then use the pole to stretch your arms and/or back. Waiting for the bus or train on your commute? You can do a lot even in work clothes, but if you can change in workout clothes for the way back home, then the sky’s the limit and it’s all socially acceptable.

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