I've never done this, but I bet if I were to go back in time into the wilderness and find a human (aka a naked mountain person) living like a human is designed to live and asked that human what he or she does for exercise everyday, that he or she would give me a quizzical look then continue picking bugs out of his or her body hair.
Despite what you may have been told your whole life, human beings were not designed to exercise. Human beings were designed to MOVE.
What's the difference you ask?
Let me put it this way...
Humans were designed to live in active harmony with their surroundings. Walking, climbing, jumping, lifting, running, and fighting were things that made it possible to survive. You couldn't survive if you couldn't move. And if you didn't move, you died.
Active harmony. Being in sync with your environment. A beautiful orchestra of flow and balance.
In much the same way that we were designed to eat foods that existed around us, we were designed to move in very specific ways to stay healthy, fit and strong enough to survive in whatever environment we happened to be in for a long time.
All that has changed.
Where we used to move all of our joints through their entire ranges of motion and feel the affects of gravity everyday, we now sit 80-90% of our waking hours in a position none of us were ever designed to be in for hardly any time at all.
Most of us sit most of the day. Then there is a percentage of the population which sits all day that heads to the gym or to the home treadmill for an hour to get their recommended "exercise" dose.
In my humble opinion, walking or running on a treadmill for an hour after sitting all day is like spraying cologne in your mouth or digging a hole with a computer monitor. You could spray worse things in your mouth for sure, but that's not really how cologne was designed to be used. You could dig a hole with a computer monitor, but again, not really how it was intended to be used.
Or as Katy Bowman says, exercising is like sitting down for dinner with a plate full of supplements. Not the worst thing you could eat, but not really how it's supposed to be, right?
So what's the solution? How can you 'move' instead of 'exercise' while still maintaining your employment and not running naked into the mountains?
Try doing one or two of these things everyday:
- stand up as much as possible (I'm standing at the very moment I'm writing this)
- if it is humanly possible to self-propel yourself to where you are going, do it -- walk, bike, skateboard, etc...
- Get up every 30-45 minutes and stretch your back or hips or do some squats
- After you do that, walk around for a few minutes (this has NOTHING to do with burning calories by the way -- you just need to move)
- take the stairs
- carry your groceries to the car instead of using the cart (if possible)
- squat a few times a day (or when you poop)
- walk as much as possible
- foam roll while you watch TV or read
- take your shoes off at your office and roll your feet on a PVC pipe or on a golf ball
- keep a lacrosse ball in your car and roll out your back, glutes, hamstrings and shoulders during your commute
- hang from something a few times a day
- get down on the ground a few times a day -- then get back up using your own power
- sit on the floor while you eat a meal (helps you get hips through different ranges of motion)
- don't slouch
Those are just a few things anybody can do. Obviously if you are a seasoned athlete and work out twice a day, this doesn't apply to you as severely, BUT IT STILL APPLIES.
Even if you spend two hours lifting heavy weights in the gym, it will still behoove you to move around as much as possible during the time you're not in the gym.
So stop exercising and start moving in ways that you were designed to move. Your body will thank you. And so will the naked mountain people.