I was a big advocate for intense exercise but now I’m not so sure. The problem with intense exercise that produces a body capable of great strength and endurance is that it needs to be maintained constantly. Any let up in the program and after about two weeks, or even less, the muscles start to revert to their previous state of feebleness. Also, the muscles are always feeling a little sore – you’re doing a lot of exercise yet when you walk up the stairs at work your legs ache leading one to wonder, what is the point? The goal should be to develop a feeling of supreme wellness whilst possessing functional strength and endurance. Intense exercise is probably more a young person’s game whose body has greater flexibility and bounce back, whose injuries heal quicker and are less likely to occur in the first place.
Most deliberate exercise is very unnatural and doesn’t result in particularly functional strength. You might lift weights regularly yet when it comes time to do some useful work like lifting ladders when painting the house you find that it still makes you sore. You may even be more susceptible to injury because you have strong muscles in the wrong places that put undue strain on weaker parts of the body.
So maybe the old folks were right when they advised that instead of exercising for its own sake you should do something that is actually useful – it’s less boring than it first appears. The trick, as I noted before, is to consciously think of useful work as exercise. Do work with the best form possible and do work constantly. Yard work should be seen as exercise and done with good spirit and swiftness just like you would when doing an exercise program.
There will be obvious advantageous spin offs with this strategy. Firstly you will get a lot of work done. Family relations will be great because you will be pulling more than your weight around the home and you’ll be doing it cheerfully – you’ll be a hero. Apparently husbands who do more housework get more sex which can be a great work out too (think of sex as exercise!). You will develop more skills around the home that should save you money. Walking somewhere, instead of taking the car, will also save money on gas. At work your enthusiastic energy and relentless devotion to working will pay great dividends and promotions and rewards will surely be forthcoming. You’ll be a great role model to your children. Others in the household will cease to look at you with the distain they once did when you gladly exercised yet were loathe to do any useful housework – the nagging should stop.
The strength you will be acquiring will be of the totally useful kind which is exactly the kind that is necessary for advancing into old age.