Do You Hate To Exercise…..
I do…..there I said it. As a child, I walked to school and back (about a mile each way) most days. That was the extent of my exercise. Thankfully I have no memory of my score on the Presidential Physical Fitness Test……I always dreaded it. Back in my day, you were ranked with students across the country. However, there was no follow up to improve your scores. I didn’t enjoy competitive sports, and it was not until I was well into adulthood that I began regular workouts. By that time, I recognized the importance of exercise for health and well being, but I still hated it. I learned about the power of opportunistic exercise from Ilchi Lee, a New York Times bestselling author, visionary and educator.
Lee’s book, I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation is a fascinating look at how he plans to make living to 120 a reality. He settled on 120 for several reasons.
- An announcement by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City that humans could live to 115
- the longest documented life of 122 year old Jeanne Calment
- anecdotal evidence of others living beyond 120 and
- the theory that animals on earth can live to six times their growth period.
Part of this decision was undoubtedly motivated by his desire to accomplish so much more before he dies including his project in New Zealand known as Earth Village.
Would you want to live to 120?
According to Lee, answers to this question range from
“Is that really possible?”
“Oh, my God! For me, that would be hell!”
“Just because you made up you mind doesn’t mean you’re going to live that long, does it?”
After reading this hugely inspirational book, I have embraced the idea that I “can” live to 120, and even if I don’t, I’d like to spend the second half of my life with health and vitality and with a purpose for getting up in the morning.
What is Opportunistic Exercise?
One of the ways that Lee suggests that we maintain our health and vitality is by what he calls “opportunistic exercise“. For someone who hates to work out, this sounded enticing.
“When you tell people to improve their physical strength, they generally imagine training with heavy weights and running on a treadmill at a fitness center. So they give up out of fear.” Opportunistic exercise according to Lee is a “lifestyle approach that we use to exercise whenever we get the opportunity.”
I realized that to some extent I was already doing opportunistic exercise. For example, I often walk upstairs instead of taking an escalator or elevator.
I do have a gym membership and I have been working out with a trainer for a number of years. Now, during the coronavirus pandemic, gyms are just opening up again. I have found myself gradually drifting back into my “not enough exercise” routine. So I made the decision to try Lee’s “One Minute Exercise”, one of three opportunistic exercises that he recommends.
Can Opportunistic Exercise work for you?
The One Minute Exercise was used by Lee because he did not have time to go to a fitness center and work out. So for example, after washing his hands, he would do push ups against the bathroom wall. Or when sitting, he would use his fists to raise and lower his body. The idea doesn’t have to be limited to one minute if you have an extra five minutes here or there in your day to do something. The one minute approach with a timer also gives you an opportunity to get up from a sitting position once an hour to do vigorous exercise. An alarm will help with this practice.
We all know that sitting for two long is bad for our health and can reduce our lifespan. For those who sit most of the day, one minute of vigorous exercise per hour will give your mind a chance to recharge for the next round of productivity and creativity which can be diminished significantly when we sit at a desk all day for work.
You may be someone who doesn’t aspire to live to 120. Nevertheless, for however long you wish to live, opportunistic exercise can be a useful tool to keep you healthy and happy until that time. And for me who hates to exercise, it has been a godsend for quarantine times. I hope to continue these practices even after my gym workouts have resumed.