It dawned on me recently while I was travelling, just some of the ridiculous measures we go to in order to relieve ourselves of a little bit of effort. I think anyone who’s ever been in an airport or a shopping centre will be familiar with the ‘travelator’ or moving walkway; the escalator that runs flat along the ground.
Evidently it’s always overrun with people just standing there and being taken some of the way to where they need to be. Not all the way, but some. So they haven’t quite gone to the extreme of putting a travelator from the airport entry, down to check-in, then up to and through security, onto duty free, down to the toilets and then passing along the ludicrously over priced eateries (a rant for another time perhaps…) all the way to the boarding gate.
At the rate we’re going this can’t be long off. Perhaps if there was the present day equivalent to the outstanding television show ‘Beyond 2000’ (I seriously suggest you watch some of the old episodes, it’s hilarious now!) we might see that beyond 2020 one can simply get the cabbie to place me on a seat at the entrance and 45 minutes later I’m at the gate ready to be wheeled onto the plane having never gotten off my arse. Like some sort of ground based travel puzzle similar to what Rosie would initiate in the morning for George Jetson:
What are these for really?
I’ve been told it’s for old people, you know- walking so far from gate to gate is tough for them old folk…Well why is it? I understand that old people are generally weaker and will struggle with walking from gate 1A to 399ZZ, but at the root of this I believe we have fallen into a society that wants things done for us at minimal energetic cost to ourselves.
We’re a bunch of lazy f**kers!
Now admittedly I’m not writing this out 5000+ times in pen and delivering it door to door, that would be ludicrous (not the rapper) and most definitely a bridge too far. Walking the 40metres (that’s 44 yards to our American friends) that one of these travel devices covers is still only walking 40 metres!
I believe (and research backs this up) that everyone, most importantly ‘old people’ should be exercising most days. If you enter your old age having been active regularly, lifted weights to get strong (this doesn’t have to be extreme feats of strength, just relative) and maintained a good level of cardiovascular fitness, then continue to uphold this as you age, you won’t and shouldn’t need the use of a travelator for a 40 metre journey (44 yards remember…).
How good is this old duck- she’s 100 and competing at athletics (that’s a shotput)! I bet she doesn’t need a travelator, so why do you?!
How about instead of using the travelator we walk, or at least walk on it! Because let’s not forget- this is the ground, it’s flat, it’s not even a hill or some stairs!
Which brings me to run of the mill escalators. Yes it is taking you where you need to go, but for most of us, we were born with two legs that do that just as well- in fact to use the stairs or walk up/down an escalator will actually be good for you, as well as making the slightest use of the wonderful appendages nature gave you. This always makes me wonder how you can have an escalator ‘out of order’. No it’s not; it’s now become stairs- walk up them! I digress…
Moving on from, what I think is, a couple of pretty good examples of our general likeness to the Slow Moving Three Toed Tree Sloth, two questions come to mind:
- Why are we lazy, and
- What does this mean for us?
I can be pretty damn opinionated (see above) at the best of times, so I most definitely have some thoughts on the first question. Leading sociologists, psychologists and other societal experts will have some pretty decent ones I’m sure. However, when it boils down to it- we live in the age of convenience. We want things and we want them now! Hurry up already Mike, get to the point– I want it now! And so on…
It’s fairly easy to get your hands on anything you desire these days and quickly, due to the amazing technology we have available to us, but how has that led to us being so outlandishly lazy that we can have situations like these 2 boomers:
‘Mobility scooters’ usually for morbidly obese folk:
People standing on an escalator going up to the entrance to a gym or fitness centre?
And let’s not forget the truly inspirational mum above on the segway above pushing the prams…
It gets everyone. Come on people?!
Of course it doesn’t have to be this way; you are in charge of how much movement you get each day. If you sit at a desk for work 8+ hours a day, then ensure that you get up and move about as often as possible. In fact this has been shown in studies to improve health by better controlling insulin levels and decreasing the risk of obesity and therefore chronic diseases, as well as being another delinquent of the ‘lazy generation’TM. In case you’re wondering- yes, I did just coin that…
The researchers in this study showed significant health benefits for overweight adults in breaking up prolonged sitting with light exercise such as walking.
It goes far beyond this doesn’t it? Laziness has afflicted western society in a big way of late. I’ve seen a good mate regularly order delivery from an establishment just down the road. Why go and get it though when they’ll bring it to the door for no charge?
Let me paint the common scenario: buzzer rings…
Delivery guy- “Delivery”
Mate- “Sweet, you know where to go, thanks”
Transaction complete, all too easy.
Well my first answer to this is- habit. Create and maintain a good habit when it comes to incidental exercise. I think the food delivery example is a good place to start. Then it moves on to various others- what about walking up the escalator at the train station? Push yourself when exercising at the gym not just reading your book while walking on the treadmill. Yes you’re exercising, which is great, but your primary activity here is reading- drop the book and push yourself.
I love this little piece of advice:
Thoughts become words.
Words become beliefs.
Beliefs become actions.
Actions become habits.
Habits become your character.
Character becomes your destiny.
So, if you start to think about being more active, you’ll soon start expressing it, believing it, acting on it and before you know it you have a habit, and so on of course… perhaps it could even lead to you having a healthy destiny? It’s a nice thought anyway…
Incidental light exercise is one thing, but there is also great evidence for bouts of exercise lasting only 1 minute at a time! I know what you’re thinking:
However, Burst training is something that has been shown to provide great health and body composition benefits by completing several short and intense bursts of exercise per day, up to 1 minute in duration. It doesn’t have to require slogging it out at the gym for hours on end, sometimes a little bit of information can hold the key…
How does burst training work? Read this great post on the subject here.
Exercise, incidental activity, burst training and habitually taking the stairs or WALKING instead of letting the ground move you from A to B, isn’t our only flirtation with laziness. What we eat has so much more of a bearing on our health, as well as our external appearance. Don’t get me wrong, great exercise habits are vital to complete health, but food will create the foundation and lay the way.
Yet here we are as a society obsessed with quick fixes, diets that will ‘drop kilos fast’, fast food, take away dinners, microwave meals…
Eating healthy is a habit, just like exercise, and it doesn’t have to be hard. Sure you can spend all day in the kitchen, but you can also whip up a beautiful and nutrient packed feed in no time. It just takes some desire, a little preparation and the willingness to look after the only body you have.
Have a look at my simple and delicious steak, salad and roasted kumara recipe to get an idea just how easy and quick it can be to eat well. That meal was delicious and super easy. The actual work was less than 10 minutes.
So, what is stopping you from cooking something like that today instead of grabbing something on the way home or ordering in from down the road?
This way you know where it came from and what went into it, i.e. nothing nasty!
Making habits like going to the supermarket each week and preparing your meals may take some practice to implement, but once you’re going is quick and not difficult and will leave you well in control of your health, body composition and energy levels. Lifestyle changes and choices are key here.
You simply have to want to break the lazy mould, get off the travelator of life, move and take control of your life. Don’t wait for things to come to you, or for you to be delivered to things- move your butt and make it happen.
I think we can use the current London Paralympic games as evidence of people doing amazing things with what nature gave them, yet most of us can’t even be bothered to walk 40 metres from A to B….