No pain, no gain

I caught a taxi home from the train yesterday. It was a very short trip and one we usually walk but I had Ben’s backpack (he walked straight from the train to the University) in addition to my own. Nevertheless I felt bad about sitting in a car when I could have easily walked. I had a nice conversation with the taxi driver who remarked how little traffic there had been since the school holidays started. The amazing thing is children can’t even drive! Those were his words.

Why are we driving our children to school? We are setting them up for poor habits later in life. Children who are used to making short trips by car will continue doing that when they become adults. We worry about our children becoming smokers but a bigger health issue today, in terms of direct attributable mortality, is not smoking but physical inactivity. This research is old but the message just isn’t getting through.

How much exercise should we be doing? The NHS has some guidelines on its site. They say we need a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 72 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week. This means you can do 30 minutes of moderate activity on five days each week or 15 minutes of vigorous activity on five days. That’s the minimum. More than that is probably better.

Yes, it’s much easier to drive up a steep hill than walk up but millions of years of human evolution did not involve driving everywhere in cars and our bodies depend on this physical activity for our wellbeing. Without it we get sick, depressed, and risk cognitive decline. It’s like the old saying goes, No pain, no gain.

11 thoughts on “No pain, no gain

  1. Great reminder post!

    I rarely drive my son to the school that’s only under a kilometer away from home. But I drove him this morning though because I had to go elsewhere.

    I too hear the same 150 minutes of physical activity from the sources I trust. Great to see some coincidence here. I exercise 3x a week for an hour on each Mon, Wed and Thu. And I just started running 5k each weekend, now that the days are getting longer in the southern hemisphere. Feels great to to be fit!

    1. That’s great, Chait. It sounds like you’re getting more than enough exercise. It’s school holidays here and I find it harder to get exercise when the kids are at home. Today I jumped on the trampoline for 20 minutes which I’m hoping counts as vigorous activity. It was definitely exhausting 🙂

      1. You are on half term holidays already? Next week here as I know because our 15 year old niece is coming to stay. I expect the house to be filled with shopping bags by saturday night!

    1. It is addictive! Well, not the gym for me but physical activity. I go a bit nuts when I’m cooped up inside all day. I find long flights the hardest and can usually be seen doing star jumps in airports 🙂

      1. I’m always doing odd physical things in odd places, as you say it is *addictive*. I wasn’t like this when I owned a car! It’s sad that so many of the population doesn’t share the secret of this feel good factor.

      2. I’m so glad no car lifestyle is working out for you. I think we’re a minority because town planners encourage car ownership and regular use. I don’t know how to change that. I write to the city council here all the time about it but nothing changes.

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