Between the gym, work, various obligations and appointments and the myriad other things that come our way it can be easy to give up on that “wellness” thing and veg out when the smoke clears. Off days become excuses to do nothing. Busy days become excuses to skip exercise altogether in favor of “tomorrow”. It’s easy to give into these impulses and while sometimes a full off day is necessary, most of the time we’re being lazy.
With summer in full swing by now, there are few excuses not to get out there and do something. Even off days from the gym are opportunities to switch it up and do other activities. Take advantage of the physical capabilities of your youth, enjoy the refreshment that activity brings. To do otherwise is to squander the gifts you’ve been given- life itself, and your good fortune being born with a functioning body.
Furthermore, the difference in how you feel is incredible. Sitting around dulls the senses and the body, especially if you’re staring at a screen. Repeatedly vegging out forms bad mental habits and laziness and fogs the mind. Moving around gets the blood flowing, gets the body feeling good, and kick starts your brain. Even something as short as a 30 min walk leaves you feeling refreshed and charged up.
Also, it’s easy for a lot of us gym rats to get caught up in a “gym or nothing” outlook or to look down on non-lifting activities as a waste of time. Yes, rest days are important and we tend to guard them, but I’m not saying go out and bike 10 miles. Anything that gets you moving a bit and feeling limber is better than nothing. If calorie defecits are your goal (especially if you’re cutting down for summer), that’s one more reason to get off your ass.
I was really bad about chilling out this past year. If it wasn’t gym day I wasn’t doing squat. Between Netflix, the internet, and occasional video gaming, I was losing my edge. I didn’t feel as athletic as I used to, I didn’t have as much energy, and my focus and “care level” were declining by the day.
These past couple months, I’ve made the effort to get out and do something active on a daily basis (outside of the gym). I see it as a chance to make up for all the time I squandered indoors. Breaking up with my ex, and thus the Netflix account, only made things easier (I don’t have cable or satellite). My preferred activity has been long walks with Unlucky Devil exploring all the nooks and crannies of downtown and people watching, usually on a daily basis. Sometimes we’re out for hours, and by the end of the week we’ve probably logged 20 miles of walking. The physical activity is enjoyable in itself, as is the mental stimulation of conversation and trading ideas with my best friend. Other times I’ll walk alone just to get lost in thought. I’ve also made more of an effort to walk 9 holes after work on off days or before lifting, as laziness caused my golf game to decline last year.
Regardless of what I do, I’m doing something active every day and it’s incredibly refreshing. I haven’t felt this sharp mentally or physically, ever. I’m at the point where I can’t “veg out” even if I want to, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My challenge to everyone is to find a way to be active every day. Take a long walk, heck take a short walk. Go on a bike ride. If you can’t be outside, go to the gym and do incline treadmill and some ab work. Play real golf or disc golf. Go for a swim. Throw the football or a frisbee with some friends. Get out and enjoy nature and the world around you. Anything you can do to get out of the house and moving is far superior than being inside.
You might just like the way it makes you feel, and wonder how you wasted so much time doing nothing.