I went Nordic walking this morning. It is a little cooler now. I have completed my exercise for this week, all I need to do is to wait for a few more hours to complete my intermittent fasting.
If you can’t find time to go walking or doing any other exercises, you can always incorporate them into your daily life. That is what the centenarians in Blue Zones do. They don’t exercise for the sake of exercise, they just move around to do their daily tasks, and end up burning enough calories.
I wrote about it in the section Move Naturally in Chapter 14 Ikigai Exercises.
If you are leading a Satoyama lifestyle, working in the garden, chopping firewood, and so on, it is easy to burn your daily required amount of calories, but if not, you need to be a little more creative. It is said that you need to walk about 4400 steps every day. There are views saying 10000 steps or 8000 steps, but I think 4400 steps is about right because that is how many steps I walk during my Nordic walking, and I have been feeling fine with it.
Timewise, it takes about 40 minutes. In other words, if you try to walk 8000 steps or 10000 steps, it’ll take 1 hour to 1 hour and a half, and that’ll be too long.
Okay, how do you walk 4400 steps sporadically?
First, you can design your house in a way you have to move a lot. Do you know about permaculture? In permaculture, you design your house and land as energy-efficient as possible. For example, you grow vegetables that you have to take care of every day near the house, and grow vegetables that don’t need much attention further away from the house. This way, you use less energy to do your daily tasks. However, in your case, you want to use more energy, so do the opposite of permaculture.
If possible you can set your study or a room you usually stay in on the second floor or the third floor, and set the kitchen and bathroom on the first floor. This way, you have to walk up and down the stairs each time when you go to the bathroom or the kitchen to grab your coffee.
Try to move as much as possible within the house. Cleaning your house every day is a good idea so that you can keep your house clean and end up moving more. Just visit every room anyway to check to see if it needs cleaning. If you have many rooms, walking inside the house can be a good exercise.
If you have a garden, visit the garden every day to check the condition of the weeds.
When you go shopping, walk or cycle to the store as much as possible. Take the longer way if you can. If there are ups and downs on the way, it is even better. If there is a footbridge, use it instead of using a regular crossing.
If you get on a double-decker bus, go upstairs and sit at the back.
Some of you may live in a suburban town where you have to drive to get anywhere. In that case, when you go shopping, try to visit several stores instead of one. When you park your car at the mall, don’t park the car near the entrance. Don’t you ever drive around near the entrance looking for a parking spot, and end up driving around several times? That is the waste of gas. Go to the furthest area first, and park your car wherever you see an empty spot. Usually, you can find one, Then, you get to walk to the entrance. In the mall, make sure you visit several stores even you have nothing to buy. When you go to the supermarket, visit every section so that you get to walk around it.
While you are working in front of the computer, take a break every hour or so and move your body. You can do some stretching, push-ups, or squats. Just one set is okay. If you do it during three breaks, it becomes 3 sets. You can always keep your dumbbells by your desk, too. It doesn’t even have to be an exercise. Make a habit of moving your body as frequently as possible, like pulling your fingers, stretching your neck and arms, and standing on your toes. Or, you can do the YouTube dance I introduced you to before.
If you do it all, it adds up to around 4400 steps.
The Ikigai Diet: The Secret Japanese Diet to Health and Longevity