I've been active my whole life. And I've also been pretty lazy my entire life. Different people that know me well have commented that I'm the fittest lazy person they know. I laugh and take it as a sincere compliment because...I'm living my best evolutionary self. 🤷🏼♂️ Here's why.
Our ancestors utilized abundant energy hunting and gathering; thus, they required rest whenever possible.1 We are evolutionarily predisposed to conserve energy.
Want to check your particular pull? When you see an escalator, what's your immediate reaction? 'Yay' is mine. 🙌🏽 I've taught myself to take stairs as much as possible and stay in motion. Though, when push comes to shove, my brain almost always triggers towards convenience. It's true for elevators, large parking lots, uncomfortable weather conditions, and general entertaining activity selections. I have to push myself and find the habit payoff of making the more active choice. Some pushes are easy, like opting to walk short distances; others can be hard, like getting outside when it's wet and cold.
We all have to fight this penchant for rest. Our brains must confront this battle continuously to improve our relationship with exercise. What makes this even more challenging is that we promote strength, and our culture sees missing exercise, lacking strength or fitness as a weakness. A societal shame percolates, and then we associate exercising as a negative experience that consciously feels like a chore (and subconsciously shameful if we don't fit the mold). I like to take the pressure off myself or others by not making it about the individual workout. It's about taking the next step, whatever that looks like for us. It can be any activity as long as we find it to be gratifying in some way. Fun is my aim.
What I found in particular in my time being around team sports was that it's always better to exercise with other people. Most of us feed off the social and communal environment, whether we are talking about more dynamic activities or general gatherings. Heck, our ancestors took the time to figure out they would be more effective by hunting and gathering in packs and groups. So we have the hard wiring to want to move together. I feel this is why most communal models of fitness work well across the board. Crossfit, HIIT classes, yoga studios, spin classes, marathon fundraisers, running clubs, youth sports leagues, and the list could go on.
As long as we keep pushing towards togetherness and destigmatize what exercise needs to be and look like, we can keep making individual and collective health strides.