Git’R Done: Efficient Exercise For Those Who Don’t Enjoy It

“Wanna arm wrestle?”

I hate exercising.

I’d rather watch TV, play Parcheesi, play my mandolin, bowl, go to a movie, sleep, blog, surf the ‘net, work on my next book, fish, visit with my wife and kids, practice shooting, work on new recipes, or even go to work.


I want the health benefits of exercise.

Loren Cordain, a godfather of the modern paleo diet movement, characterizes the physical activity pattern of hunter-gatherers thusly: “periods of intense exertion generally alternated with days of rest and relaxation.”  Nevertheless, “the amount of physical activity performed by an average hunter-gatherer would have been about four times greater that that of a sedentary office worker….”

Eaton and Eaton suggest than ancient hunter-gatherers burned 490 calories a day in physical activity, which would require about an hour of modern exercise.

For much of this year I’ve been experimenting with various exercise programs that may yield the health benefits with minimal time commitment.  Like 60 minutes a week.  Not the 150 minutes recommended by some public health authorities.  In case you’re interested, here are some links that outline the programs:

If you’re tempted to try any of these programs, get your personal physician’s blessing first.  I’d love to hear about your experience with them.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Cordain quotes are from The Paleo Diet (2002).

3 responses to “Git’R Done: Efficient Exercise For Those Who Don’t Enjoy It

  1. There are now a bunch of stusies showing a tremendous time advantage for HIIT. If someone has seen one that doesn’t show at least a 4:1 time difference for the same effect, please post the reference here.

    That said, I could never force myself to do 30 minutes of steady-state stationary bike or treadmill, but I rather enjoy my 12-minute sessions of intervals. I also rather enjoy lifting weights! So, I can finally tell my doctor that I get even more exercise than he recommends, and that I enjoy it!

  2. Why do you hate to exercise? Moving feels good.

  3. I think that h-g “days of rest & relaxation” probably looked a lot different than ours. Fewer chairs, to start with. Resting by alternately lounging on the ground, in trees, on rocks, etc. and wandering around chatting with people is very, very different, biomechanically, than resting on a couch or a chair. Simply ceasing to SIT so much is probably going to be a better health win than packing a large amount of exercise into a short time every other day.