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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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Why exercise alone won't save us

Why exercise alone won't save us

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jan/03/why-exercise-alone-wont-save-us

theguardian.com

6

Key Ideas

Exercise Defined

Exercise is a  movement of the body to enhance physical fitness. 

Most people know that exercise is important for the physical development of the self, yet a majority of them are skipping exercise often.

Decrease in Human Strength

Historic evidence suggests that for many thousands of years, human beings were more active and stronger than today. 

The early humans had increased movement and activity, like going for long and tiring hunts, walking long distances that took weeks, making the prehistoric humans fitter than the best athletes today.

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.

Change in Work Profiles

While we aren't replacing our saved energy with a different activity, in the past 70 years, hard and manual labor, which required toil and sweat, has been replaced by desk jobs, leading to sedentary lifestyles.

Sedentary Lifestyle Death Toll

Sedentary lifestyle diseases like heart disease/strokes and diabetes are the leading cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

The Way Out

The way to change this sedentary epidemic:

  • Exercise and be active all day, not just for an hour a day.
  • Rethink your working style.
  • Limit the number of sitting hours.
  • Make it a habit to eat right.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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, st...
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.

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Excessive sitting

Sitting for an extended period is linked with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk of death from heart disease and cancer.

Excessive sitting may also slow metabolism, whi...

Just 30 minutes of activity...
... on 5 days each week (going to the gym, cycling to work, or going for a lunchtime walk) could prevent 1 in 12 deaths globally.

Injecting physical activity into your working day could reduce some of the health risks that are elevated by being sedentary.

Cycle or walk to work
  • Cycling to work has been linked with a reduced risk of death from all causes, and a lower cancer risk.
  • Both cycling and walking to work have also been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • People who walk or cycle to work have a lower body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage in midlife than those who commute by car.
  • Those who actively commute to work also benefit from improved well-being and report feeling more able to concentrate and under less strain.

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Sore Is Not Always Good

While it feels satisfying to have sore, aching limbs, and a sign of a good workout. This is entirely unnecessary and one can eliminate the soreness by doing slow reps, or avoiding eccentric (muscle...

Heavy Lifting For Bulk

One can get stronger by increasing the size of the individual muscle fibers, and by recruiting more of the muscle fiber to work together when needed. 

A bulky body is also considered a negative in certain sports. Getting bulky is a specific, targeted training which includes high-volume exercises, calorie intake, and protein supplements, and cannot be attained by simply lifting heavier weights.

Using Scales

Scales are actually useful in providing you with information about your general progress and direction.

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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 ra...
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.
Mindfulness defined

Mindfulness has become quite a buzzword and its meaning at times can be loose and subjective.

Mindfulness can be defined as a deliberate and controlled awareness of the present moment.

Mindfulness and exercise

Researchers pointed out that mindfulness does not affect people's interest in exercise. Mindfulness affects exercise indirectly by boosting satisfaction because one feels satisfied when you are engaged in a positive experience. 

Unintended consequences
Unintended consequences

As we face weeks in lockdown, we seem to be sitting a whole lot more. Sitting for over six hours for days can cause a set of health problems. It can create cardio-metabolic problems and create i...

Schedule “movement breaks” 

Set a timer once an hour to remind you to move. Get up and move your body, walk up and down the stairs, or take a brisk loop around the block.

The movement needs to be reasonably active and needs to get you out of breath. Afterward, you will feel more productive.

Find an activity you love

Most people can find an activity that they enjoy. It could be walking the dog, doing pilates, or playing in the garden.

Find the activity you like and get value from and do that.

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Chaining

Connecting exercise to a solid event that you know will happen is a great way to stay consistent. I know that I will leave work at 5 every weekday – instead of going home, I bring my work...

Precommitment

Precommitments are actions that get you invested in going to the gym. If you’ve committed to going with a partner, you’re hardly going to leave them hanging.

Similarly, bringing clothes with you to work, packing your gym bag in advance, or laying out your workout clothes before bed for a morning workout are tricks that make it easier to stay consistent.

Rewards

In order to be effective, a reward needs to occur frequently and immediately after a workout. 

Plus, it needs to be associated with going to the gym – the reward doesn’t mean much if you can have it whenever you want.

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10,000-steps-a-day goal

An entire industry has been built on the claim that 10,000 steps a day are necessary to be healthy.

But 10,000 steps is a random number that was used in a Japanese marketing campaign in th...

The potential benefits

A research team investigated the potential benefits of taking 10,000 steps/day. They concluded that the average Japanese person could decrease their risk of coronary artery disease if they increased their daily step count from 3,500 steps to 10,000.

Concerns with 10,000 steps

For those who are chronically ill, have type 2 diabetes, or older individuals who are less active, there are concerns that making a rapid jump to 10,000 steps a day could have negative consequences. 

Some studies suggest that 6,000 to 8,000 steps could be the lower boundary to aim for, while 6,000 steps and above can protect against cardiovascular disease.

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Consistency matters more than frequency

We usually make effort unsustainable. For example:

  • We work out like crazy for a few days (usually at the beginning of the year) and never go back to the gym.
  • We try to med...
Identity-based Habits
To build the identity of the person you want to become, ask yourself what the behavior of a person who has the habit you want to develop is. For example:
  • What is the behavior a person who is in shape? They go to the gym consistently
  • What is the behavior of a prolific writer? They crack open a notebook every day.
Raise Your Level of Intensity Gradually
When something becomes effortless, raise the level of intensity, to the point where you can get there without too much resistance, but it’s still somewhat challenging. To put it more concisely, bend but don’t break.

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