• A man and a woman enjoying a mountain bike trip


A natural approach to an active life

The trouble with modern exercise

We all have busy lives. We want to cram as much value into our days as possible. As a result, modern workouts tend to be high intensity sessions for an hour or more. After all, if we make time in our schedule and plan a trip to the gym, we had better make it count.

But working yourself too hard is counterproductive. Intense exercise depletes your muscles’ glycogen stores. In response, your brain tells you to eat more sugars. And since you just worked so hard, you feel entitled to an extra snack. As a result, you will likely eat more than you burned. Research has shown time and again that intense exercise does not help you lose weight.

Exercise is important. But basing your exercise regime on irregular punishing workouts is not the best way to approach things.

Focus on effort, not results

Your exercise regime should be based on regular moderate exercises like walking, biking, skating or swimming. During these exercises you can set a brisk pace, but you should be able to carry out a normal conversation without panting or feeling faint. This way you ensure that you stay in the optimal fat burning zone. Just walking 30 minutes every day is easy to keep up, clears your head and recharges your energy levels.

On top of that, it’s healthy to lift some weights (remember your own body is a weight too) a few times a week and do one high intensity exercise (like a 10-20 second sprint) every day. This will help you build muscle mass and keep your cardiovascular responses healthy.

When you exercise, don’t worry about reps or speeds or distances. Make regular exercise a habit. It doesn’t matter if you can do 3 push-ups or 300, as long as you put in time and real effort. Exercise within your ability. If you push yourself just a little bit every time, you will find yourself improving.

Laziness is a survival mechanism

Regular exercise is important. Active people are happier and feel better. If you never exercise, your body will be weak and unfit. By eating wel and exercising regularly you give your body strength, resilience and stamina.

But you already knew all that. Even so, it is not always easy to motivate yourself. That’s because you’re lazy. Everyone is lazy. Laziness is an important survival mechanism and one of nature’s most basic instincts. Animals that hop around excitedly for no reason have to find extra food to sustain their frivolous behavior. That’s not a winning evolutionary strategy.

In nature, exercise is always functional. If an animal is not looking for food, impressing a potential mate or running away from a predator, it defaults to lazing about.

Make exercise functional

In our modern lives, our instinctive laziness has become a liability. When we are hungry, we don’t have to hunt a deer or forage for apples anymore. We just pick up the phone and order a pizza. We earn our salaries sitting behind a computer screen. And when was the last time you needed to run from a lion? The truth is, we don’t have many natural reasons to get out of our chairs anymore.

But our bodies weren’t designed to sit all day, and they suffer. If you want to be healthy, you will have to override your natural lazy instincts. There are many ways to do this, but the simplest way is to make exercise functional again. The Healthy Lives system lets you earn cheats by exercising. This way, your cravings become a powerful motivator. And earning them will make you feel proud about your cheats instead of guilty.

  • Grassland indicating the end of the page
  • Grassland indicating the end of the page