Inactivity Is Killing Us But We Can All Do Something About It

It’s time to hack your mind to retrofit your body

In the traditional battle of brains over brawn, brains win every time. The ability to cognitively adapt and evolve in every challenge is something we are evolutionary designed to do, which makes it a little puzzling why we are allowing inactivity to kill us.

The British Heart Foundation recently reported that up to 20 million Britons are inactive and may, as a result, experience bad health, and even cardiovascular illnesses they may not survive. Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, wrote in Business Insider that the situation in the US is no better and that it may well come to pass that employees are paid to exercise at work.

When it comes to exercise and maintaining our fitness throughout life the problem isn’t that we’re not smart. We all understand that being fit is not about running world-class marathons or taking part in cage-fighting. It’s about stretching the active years we have and ensuring quality of life throughout our time on this planet.

Despite this we fail because evolutionary biology works against us by triggering several competing drives. One of them is the reward system of the brain and research suggests that it is, at least partially, linked to genetics. Another is the apparent psychological bias we have to overestimate our abilities which, as a further study suggests, leads to an overestimation of how hard we actually exercise. To make matters even worse, when we do make ourselves exercise there is the very real risk that we’re engaging in an activity to which our bodies respond poorly (making us “non-responders” to exercise) which means we fail to see any result for our efforts. Non-responders to exercise were first identified in a 2001 study that showed that some people show no physical change to exercise. Disheartening as that may sound the good news is that just by switching activity they can enjoy the health benefits of exercise.

Given how critical fitness is to overall health, I think it’s worth taking a look at exercise in the one place where nearly all of us will spend a good chunk of our lives: the workplace. -Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite
Work seems to be one of the most common excuses we use to not exercise and yet it is one of the activities that most benefits from

When you consider the totality of obstacles we face and add the general lack of time of our modern lifestyles it’s becoming clear that in order to work for us exercise, in our lives, needs to be a hack that cleverly overcomes all the obstacles that are usually placed in our way:

  • Individual preferences to exercise
  • Doing exercise that is accessible
  • Finding a way to exercise that is achievable
  • Making exercise fun
  • Finding time to exercise
  • Finding ways to exercise that don’t involve huge costs

Darebee’s massive number of workouts (over 800 with more being added daily), variety of fitness levels, incremental mini-exercises (like Daily Dares) and fun Challenges ensure that no one is left out in the cold irrespective of their fitness needs, fitness level or inclination.

Its global online community, The Hive, provides a handy, ready-made support group where judgement is suspended, there is no such thing as “a dumb question” and those embarking on their fitness journey can share their insights and story, read those of others and obtain information and advice in an environment that is as open and accepting as you can possibly imagine.

Exercise At Work

When it comes to finding smart ways to exercise the 100 Office Workouts is probably one of the easiest ways there are to hack your fitness, keep yourself active, feel strong and healthy without having to contend with all those other mental, physical and psychological barriers that are usually associated with exercise.

Over a year in the making with exercises tested with various Darebee volunteer groups around the globe The 100 Office Workouts guide gives us the opportunity to overcome the challenge of the “evolutionary stacked deck” that has us make decisions regarding exercise that go against our own self interests, and experience the kind of renewal that comes with having greater physical control over our own body and a better awareness of its capabilities.

When the threshold to exercise is so low that you can easily try it, the real question is, what is really keeping you from experiencing a better, healthier version of yourself?

Disclosure: I am Darebee’s strategic advisor and I actively participate in its global mission of democratizing access to fitness for everyone.

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