It’s Just Human Nature

Human nature can serve us very well in most cases, but truth be told, if you are not paying attention, human nature can also work against us, at least in regards to health and fitness. Let’s face it, most people automatically, without thinking, choose to do things the easiest way.

Last week I was at City Hall for a meeting. I entered the lobby and headed for the stairs. On the way, I encountered a City staff member who was headed for the same meeting which was to take place on the third floor. The stairs and the elevator are no more than fifteen feet apart, stairs on the left, elevator on the right. This staff member was half my age and knowing her position, this person likely was sitting most of the day. We walked together until I went left (towards the stairwell) and she headed right (towards the elevator). I said “I’ll see you up there, I’m taking the stairs.” I guess I guilted her into taking the stairs because she followed me up the stairs and mentioned something about her shoes as an excuse for heading for the elevator.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to judge or make fun of anyone for making the decisions they make all day long, that’s not my intent. My intent with this example is to show you how, if you are not thinking, you are being a detriment to your own health, in my humble opinion. I see things like this go on all the time.

Easier is better. Well, not so. I’ve seen grown men cutting their grass on a riding lawn mower that they could cut in 10 minutes flat with a push mower. I see people drive around shopping mall parking lots forever just to try to find a closer parking spot to the entrance. I see people all the time leaving their shopping carts in a parking spot next to their cars just so they don’t have to walk to the cart return to put it away like they should, just to save a 20 second walk. We think we are so smart finding these short cuts but in reality, we’re not so smart.

Why am I writing about this? Well, coming from a health enthusiast, and a professional trainer, most people don’t realize what a difference it would make in their lives if they just incorporate a few simple things into their lifestyles. Here are a few examples. Sure, one of these may not make a difference, but a combination of these things consistently will change the way you feel.

1. If you are headed to the second floor or even the third floor of a building, take the stairs, both up and down!

2. Stop looking for the closest parking spot to the entrance of wherever you are going, especially grocery shopping, It’s not like you have to carry your groceries. You have a cart to do that.

3. Speaking of shopping, take your shopping cart back to the cart return like you’re supposed to.

4. Depending on how large a yard you have, cut at least some, if not all of the lawn with a push mower and don’t buy the ones that drive themselves! Push it.

5. Get outside in the winter and shovel your sidewalks.

6. If you’ve been doing your cardio workout on the treadmill for ages, try an elliptical or even better a stair climber for a change.

7. Walk faster.

8. If you work, don’t sit around during your lunch break, especially if you sit at your job all day. Have a good healthy lunch and as soon as you are done, get outside and go for a brisk walk.

9. Again, unless you have a substantial amount of property, get outside in the fall and rake up the leaves using a rake, not a leaf blower.

These are some of the examples of how easy it is to make a difference in the way you feel and how your body stays fit. Stop looking for the easiest way to do things. We need to challenge ourselves physically more often than we are or Mother Nature will inevitably take over and before you know it, you will have no choice but to find the easiest way to do things or someone else to do them for you because you no longer can do them. Sad but true.