Pathways to Wellness

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Life today

The human body is built for active living. In the past, hunting and gathering food, building shelter and making clothing all required physical activity, and lots of it! Many modern conveniences – cars, snowmobiles, snowblowers, washing machines, dishwashers, to name a few – eliminate much of the physical activity from the chores of daily living.

Fewer jobs involve physical labour. Many of us spend our work day at a desk. Little things like sending an email to a co-worker (instead of going down the hall to talk) further reduce the amount of activity at work.

And when it comes to leisure time, we are spending more and more time in front of screens – televisions, computers, iPads - and less and less time being physically active. A recent survey found that the average Canadian spends about 18 hours per week on line on their home computer, and 17 hours per week watching TV.

The cost of TV remotes

Dr. Mark Tremblay, an exercise physiologist, estimates that over the course of a lifetime, walking to the television to change channels rather than using the remote could burn calories equivalent to 45 lbs!

We'd be more active if life was less convenient. We can't turn back the clock on modern technologies, but we can adopt the pholosophy of planned inconvenience. Park in the furthest parking spot from the entrance to your workplace instead of searching for the closest spot. Or if you take the bus to work, walk to the next bus stop on the route, and get off one stop before your usual stop.

Or maybe you live close enough to walk or bike to work, if not every day, then how about a day or two a week? These small "inconveniences" will help you become more mindful of how to be more active in a world that doesn't make it easy.

Watch this short video by Dr. Mike Evans called "Let's make our day harder" for other ideas for planned inconveniences.

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