What Functional Fitness Really Looks Like

Over the last 15 years I’ve been employed to make people work out.

That’s right, I get money to supervise and motivate people to move their body, usually just because they have a hard time doing it on their own. I’ve often thought that if a time traveler from the past joined us, it would be hard to explain how these places called gyms—full of tools designed to work us really hard but not actually produce anything—take our time and money.

But you would only have to live in this age for a short time to understand the predicament brought on by modern conveniences like cars and grocery stores. They make our lives a whole lot easier, but put us in a position where we need this form of work called exercise.

To explain the need for exercise, this article looks at a study showing that not exercising is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease. It’s also needed for mental health. For example, this article shows that exercise makes you happier than money, and here exercise is defined as the primary treatment for those with mental health problems.

Needless to say, the gym is not going away nor do I think it should, but I do think we could benefit from things that make our bodies functional again. This week in The Movement, I dug up a few simple tools that could be the answer to burning some productive calories.

1. Single Speed Bike

It’s how we got everywhere as a kid. A simple ride, no gears, just jump on and go.

2.Bike Washing Machine

As one commenter said, it should be called the “spin cycle.” Unfortunately, it’s not a real product yet, but if you’re interested I found this hand wash thing, which I’m thinking about buying just for the handful of gym shirts that stink up my laundry.

3. Axe

In the forest, splitting wood, is about as raw as you can get. Need a stash of firewood? Find a fallen tree and get to work.

4. DIY Car Wash

I spent 6-months working at a car wash and I got totally shredded. Not really…but I found the enjoyment that comes from whipping out a clean car. You can get it done in about 15 minutes while listening to tunes and soaking up some sun.

The moral of the story is that life is about doing! The gym is a necessary step for its ability to progressively challenge the body to move more and move faster. Although, I believe we can add a bit more to our health and joy by finding opportunities to get active in our lives. Still, some things I’ll leave to the machines…

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