Hello best life seekers!
Do you feel sluggish, unmotivated, have issues with regularity, and experience mind fog? Is your circulation and metabolism out of whack? If so, don’t think you have to exercise to get relief.
Vitality from Good Food
We are exercised-obsessed in the West but the Japanese, who have one of the healthiest lifestyles on the planet, don’t exercise. Most of Asia and the rest of the world doesn’t and yet their heart disease, cancer and dementia statistics trounce us. Our ancestors never worried about exercise either and they didn’t have the health epidemics of today.
The difference between everyone else and us? Diet mostly. They eat healthy foods for the majority of their sustenance while only a minority of their diet is junk. Contrast that with the 68% junk, 26% meat and 6% healthy food habit of the standard American diet. In fact, a recent Newsweek article noted that 58% of the American diet could be purchased at 7-Eleven. Ouch.
Energy comes primarily from the foods we eat. The quality of that energy depends on what you consume. Eat refined carbs and heavily processed foods and you will go into a food coma or experience a sugar crash or both. At best you will feel sluggish or lethargic. The number one reason why people don’t have energy is due to their food habits. It’s hard to be active when the food you consume doesn’t contribute to anything but minimal bodily processes and isn’t always effective at that!
When you eat for health, you automatically start providing everything your body needs to function, but you also power it up. When you have energy you naturally become active. Good nutrition also improves your metabolism. Eat right and you’ll actually lose more pounds than through most forms of exercise alone.
That said, physical activity has wonderful benefits that mirror those of a healthy diet. According to the World Health Organization, physical activity reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, diabetes, hypertension, various types of cancer including colon cancer and breast cancer, as well as depression. Physical activity is also invigorating and comes with significant energy boosts. Ask runners about their runner’s high and how refreshed they feel after their morning jog.
Unfortunately, most people won’t be motivated to activity, let alone to exercise, unless they have energy, which best comes from a healthy diet. Get them some energy from wholesome, nutritious food and suddenly they start perking up and taking an interest in exercise – and in life in general.
The Sedentary Death Spiral
Aside from diet, our second vitality problem is our sedentary lifestyle. Not only do we not have the energy to move, we’re actively addicted to sitting.
Our ancestors were not sedentary beings. They were active but they hardly went running 6 miles every day or worried about how many steps they had tracked on their Fitbit. Today we are a sedentary species. We drive everywhere, sit at desks all day, and come home to sit on a couch to watch TV or play video games, then we sleep. Evidently we spend 12 hours a day just sitting, which is frightening when you consider physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for global mortality.
The healthiest cities usually are those like Boulder or DC where people walk in the course of their daily lives. They walk to public transit to get to and from work and school. They also walk their local neighborhoods on errands and when going out on the town. In places like Japan, a lot of people still bicycle, though that is decreasing. They walk a lot more than in the West too because of a community design that naturally facilitates walking.
In the least healthiest cities and towns in the US, everyone drives door to door to work and school and while on errands. The most walking they do is from the parking lot to a building entrance. Unlike in healthier cities and towns, these places don’t have many if any sidewalks to even encourage walking. Urban sprawl makes driving a requirement for everything while the lack of sidewalks makes walking unsafe.
Movement energizes the body, primes the mind, elevates emotion and lifts the spirit. When we walk we get fresh air, stretch and use our muscles, receive nourishing sunlight for making vitamin D, and improve our metabolism.
Our species isn’t meant to sit all day at desks and before screens. If we were, we would have been born without legs and with screens attached to our retinas. Used to, kids played outside but now they spend almost as much time as adults sitting indoors and glued to screens of one type or another, whether that’s a smartphone, video console, television or tablet.
Unplugging and enjoying life with others or in hobbies like dance and sports is the best form of movement and activity. Getting out in nature or just going for a walk helps revitalize us. Movement helps circulate oxygen more efficiently through our system, providing needed energy to our cells. Movement also improves digestion and regularity. Perhaps one of the best underrated benefits of unplugging and engaging in some sort of physical activity is that it gives our minds needed moments of relief to calm and reflect, particularly if you’re walking or doing activities that you enjoy but others might call exercise.
Movement, however fractional, can change your mood for the better. That’s why we’re always trying to get depressed people to go for walks. We intuitively know that sitting still or sequestering yourself indoors and usually before some screen, isn’t healthy.
Like with junk food, we’re addicted to sitting. It’s an addiction we need to break. With good diet, we start to receive the needed energy to inspire us to be active but we also get energy and relief from small activities. Studies show that elderly people who perform simple household activities receive health benefits over those who do not perform those activities.
Movement is Life
Eating right gives you energy and vitality. You then have the energy and inspiration to be active. Being physically fit and active brings extra health and vitality perks. Even small amounts of movement like household chores or walking around the block give substantial benefits.
The old saying goes “a rolling stone collects no moss.” A sitting, inactive human is certain to catch disease. Eat for health and vitality and find ways to break your addiction to sitting. Start moving in activities you enjoy, even if it’s just taking a walk around the block. Do that and you’ll never need to “exercise.”
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