I just completed 40 minutes on the elliptical trainer at a decent resistance. Eight weeks ago, I could only do 15 minutes. I'm lifting free weights again, and I'm pretty certain I'll try CrossFit again in a bit, under the expert eyes of my rad trainers. All this to say that I love exercise. I have always loved exercise.
After my shower, I was walking down the hall in the post-exercise, clean skin happy place and jamming on all the endorphins, and I was reminded of a conversation I had with my former boss a while ago. She pointed out that exercise was so easy for me because I loved it; for her, exercise was a trial, a chore to be dispensed with quickly. She knew she had to do it for her health, but she haaaated it.
I get it. I do. I hate standing in line, waiting for stuff. I hate standing around in general -- concerts are really annoying for me, and now I beg my dude to get sitting tickets for old people because: ug. And honestly, this is a reasonable modification to make.
I feel like there's lots of stuff like this -- things we feel like we should do, but really don't want to. We don't like it, we drag our feet, it feels really unpleasant.
So I'm going to suggest something pretty radical (at least to our diet-centric culture):
Now, what about our health? I'm sure that's going to come up. Yes, physical activity is very good for you. I don't even need to talk about all the reasons why. It has many physical and emotional and even intellectual bonuses.
However, I believe in bodily agency above all. Your body is your body. If you don't want to exercise, not even a little, you don't have to. You can accept that this may/probably will impact your health, but ultimately, you do you.
Because where we get into trouble is when everybody thinks they know what's best for everyone and turn other peoples' private health choices into a matter of public outrage and concern trolling. Look: other peoples' health is not your business. Even if it brings up insurance premiums or whatever. Insurance companies are pretty damn corrupt on the whole, and further, we subsidize other peoples' private decisions all the time. Do they drink? Smoke? Drive in cars? Surround themselves with chemicals? Boom. They're a risk too. So stop it with all the "Obesity Epidemic" nonsense. It's none of your business what anyone weighs.
Further, plenty of skinny folks are pretty sedentary. My dude hasn't had a sustained period of exercise since 2006. Probably longer, but that's when we got together, so there you go. He's a slim, tall drink of water. He's got the same issues as anyone else that doesn't regularly exercise, but no one thinks to judge him because of thin bias. I stopped nagging him a long time ago, because: his body, his choices. His life, his rules.
All this being said, if you do want to be healthier, and do want to get the health benefits of exercise, but don't want to go to a gym, I will suggest, as many have before, that you find an activity that you like. Reframe exercise as activity.
It can be hard to get motivated to go to the gym and exercise, but when I think about shaking my butt to the golden oldies in the privacy of my own home (or out at Bootie with rad mashups, whatever), it's suddenly a lot easier to make that happen. Activity can be anything that gets your bod cruisin'. Here's my nearly exhaustive list of activities that all count for moving your body:
Walking! Walking to class, work, or the store, walking your dog, walking for Pokemon GO (no shit, it totally counts. Get yourself another Eevee.)
Hiking (walking, with trees)
Roller skating or in-line skating (YAAASSS)
Jogging or running (if, and only if, you like it)
Wheeling your wheelchair
Mountain climbing, rock climbing, rapelling
Step aerobics (I did this at the Y and got outpaced by a 72-year-old grandma, no lie)
Jumping on a trampoline (or a bouncy castle)
Karate, judo, tae kwon do, jujitsu
Performing jumping jacks
Clogging (I have no idea what this is, but it sounds GREAT)
Golf (Yes, it counts, because there's lots of walking)
Coaching children’s or adults’ sports
Field or rollerblade hockey
Curling (If you live in a northern state or are Canadian)
Cricket (If you're an anglophile)
Ice sailing (I... don't know what this is?)
Tobogganing (Tobogganing! Say it again: Tobogganing, tobogganing, tobogganing!)
Playing ice hockey
Playing hopscotch, 4-square, dodgeball, T-ball, or tetherball (Can we go do this now, you guys?)
Playing instruments while actively moving; playing in a marching band; playing guitar or drums in a rock band
Twirling a baton in a marching band (Seriously!)
Gardening and yard work: raking the lawn, bagging grass or leaves, digging, hoeing, light shoveling, or weeding while standing or bending
Planting trees, trimming shrubs and trees, hauling branches, stacking wood
Pushing a power lawn mower or tiller, digging ditches, or carrying heavy loads (DIGGING DITCHES Y'ALL)
Felling trees, carrying large logs, swinging an ax, hand-splitting logs, or climbing and trimming trees (Being a lumberjack, you mean.)
Pushing a non-motorized lawn mower
Housework of all kinds
Actively playing with children: walking, running, or climbing while playing with children (NO JOKE)
When you look at it this way, we're all exercising ALREADY, most of us. So let's just pat ourselves on the back, do more of it, and enjoy what we enjoy.