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Jul 04, 2019 22:36:57

Creating inconvenience for better health

by @jasonleow | 631 words | 414πŸ”₯ | 452πŸ’Œ

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 414πŸ”₯
Total posts: 452πŸ’Œ
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Lately, I'd been intentionally creating physical inconveniences for myself just so to be healthier. Health had been a recurring theme for me for the past few years. I had some health scares, and just feel an overall, nagging lack of well-being. Turning 40 this year also motivated me to do more to upkeep my health.

I already try to run three times a week, but it's beginning to feel like that just maintains it, keeps it level, not take it higher. And I do want to take it higher, because health and age is an ever-downsliding game. Just threading water and staying still actually means we are slowly deteriorating, pulled downwards by the prevailing current of age. So if I am to prepare ahead for the impending 50s, I feel like I need to do more.  

There's a lot of discourse about walkable cities being better for health. The research on Blue Zones stated that natural daily movement is key to longevity:

Move naturally

The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.

That's a cool tip on healthy living, isn't it? I can effectively 'workout' in atomic ways throughout the day without necessarily having to spend big chunks of time on a proper workout. Micro-workouts ala atomic habits, so to speak. So to take things higher, I started with just one thing - walking up the escalator whenever I see one - at the train station, at the mall, office building. Sometimes I try to take the stairs if I'm feeling up for it. I stand in the bus/train even if seats are available. Standing tables become my latest favourite thing at cafes, so that I can stand up and sit down and move about frequently while I work. Some days, I purposely stuff more things in my backpack even if I don't need them, so that I can load my body a little more. I'd seen an office leave weight-lifting kettlebells scattered around, so that workers could carry one on their way to a meeting. I try to find more reasons that make me get up more - take less water so that I need to get up to walk to the water cooler. Drink more water so that I need to get up more to go to the toilet. Use a mindfulness timer on my laptop that chimes every 5 minutes, so that I remember to check in with my body.

It's a strange and counter-intuitive way to go about daily life, because everything in our modern lives scream efficiency, convenience and optimisation, isn't it? Move less, let tech help you. But I'm finding that I have to purposely inconvenience myself, because I don't live or work in a place where frequent physical movement is encouraged. In fact, natural movement is actively designed out of our modern cities. Every one of our modern conveniences - escalators, lifts, cars, trains, office desks, our job nature, calling for food delivery, ordering goods from Amazon - they all eat into our daily dosage of regular, natural movement. These technologies take the walk out of our legs, the use of our hands, and strength out of our muscles. Increasingly, they just focus on what's above our necks, and at the tips of our hands. I'm not anti-technology or anti-progress, and these tech are admittedly great achievements that should stay. I just wish that our tech could also be designed for well-being, not just efficiency.

So sometimes having some friction is good for us, instead of it being too friction-less and easy. Atomic habits, micro-workouts. And inconveniences are now good for health. What a strange age we're in!

From Jason Leow's collection:

  • 1

    @jasonleow - This is a good way to get into better health. I just saw an impact theory interview where the speaker argued that the way most people spend time at the gym is unnatural to how our ancestors lived. There's some science that argues that it's not good for our bodies to be stressed that way.

    I think your approach will start being more recommended. As we get older, we have to think about the consequences of injuries too.

    Here's to living long and aging well.

    Keni avatar Keni | Jul 04, 2019 10:46:00
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