Technology as the Culprit - Deepstash

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Why exercise alone won't save us

Technology as the Culprit

Technological breakthroughs have reduced our activity to a great extent ( vacuum cleaners, washer-dryers, self-cleaning ovens, and even cars).

The rise of the internet gave us a whole lot of technology, curbing our need to move even more.

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Make time for exercise
  • Pick a regular (sedentary) part of your routine and switch it out for an active choice: Instead of the elevator, take the stairs;
  • Commit to movement after the most frustrating, stressful part of your week:  after a weekly meeting or work task;
  • Work out while you watch TV: you get to indulge the part of your brain that's telling you to lie down on the couch while actually circumnavigating laziness.
Calories burned every day

The calories we burn every day include not only movement but all the energy needed to run the thousands of functions that keep us alive. 

Exercise and health

Exercise is like a wonder drug for many health outcomes: reducing blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes of heart diseases and slows developing cognitive impairment from Alzheimer's and dementia. 

But as for losing weight, it helps more in weight maintenance than in losing the actual weight.

Human energy balance

Exercise alone has a modest contribution to weight loss. But when you alter one component, cutting the number of calories you eat in a day to lose weight, doing more exercise than usual, this sets off a cascade of changes in the body that affect how many calories you use up and, in turn, your bodyweight.

The battle between reason and emotions

To understand the conflict between our good intentions and our contrary impulses, we can look at the dual process model. Our behavior are divided into two categories:

  • The rational mechanisms, managed by the reflective system.
  • The emotional mechanisms, managed by the impulsive system.

The impulsive system can facilitate or prevent the reflective system from putting our intentions into place.

Sedentary lifestyle and evolution

The attraction toward sedentary can be viewed in light of evolution. When it was challenging to gain access to food, minimizing effort allowed for the saving of energy that was crucial for survival.

This tendency could explain the current pandemic of physical inactivity since genes allowing individuals to survive are likely to be present in the next generation.

Moving toward an active lifestyle
  • The first step toward an active lifestyle is to become aware of this force that is driving us to inactivity.
  • We likely engage in physical activity only when it is fun or necessary. To promote physical activity, make it pleasant by restructuring your environment to favour it, especially during your daily trips.
  • The architecture of new buildings should also encourage physical activity by prioritizing access to stairs, or standing desks, etc.