Let’s make our day harder – not easier!

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Canadian physician Dr. Mike Evans – known to 3.6 million people as the creator of the video-gone-viral 23 1/2 Hours – has done it again. Here’s his 4-minute take on what he calls our “generational case of sitting disease”.  In a modern world obsessed with making things easier, consider his new movement to start making each day harder for better health – especially important in both preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.  Watch it now – Enjoy . . .

Q:  How have you built in little ways to make your day a bit harder?

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11 thoughts on “Let’s make our day harder – not easier!

  1. This is an excellent topic. I grew up in harsh weather without public transit, where everyone drove almost everywhere, and immediately noticed the difference when I lived in England in the 1970s.

    Even heavy smokers were overall more fit and vigorous. It was an enduring lesson in the importance of little activities like walking to shops or the bus. Also that frequent light errands involve more activity, both physical and social, than one heavy shopping.

    We live in the mild San Francisco Bay area, where there is public transport, but very inconsistent from one area to another, and, in some places, so unreliable it really is not an option if you have any choice at all. So we use transit more than our neighbors, especially the train and buses when going to San Francisco (just yesterday in fact) but drive more than we’d like.

    My husband, whose blood pressure tends high, has a long commute to work in another county – 45 min. under the very best conditions, and much longer when traffic is bad, plus the stress. He enjoys long weekend bicycle rides or hikes, and would like to get out of his car, but bike-train or bike-bus options would take over 3 times longer and require him to get up at 3:30am to get to work on time.

    So he walks up and down hills during his lunch hour, and sometimes takes a quick walk (or bike ride) immediately on arrival home. During longer daylight hours, when traffic is just too, too terrible, he’s been known to get off the freeway, go to a nearby trail and walk for 30 minutes or so. As traffic is much lighter after his walk, he arrives home only a little later than if he had stewed behind the wheel, and feels so much better.

    I swim several times a week, but drive to the pool and to most of my appointments and errands, which are all over the area. However, our neighborhood business district – “the village” – is a pleasant 3/4 mile from our house, so for several years we have made a point of walking to light errands: pound of coffee, loaf of bread, visit to the library, ATM or to eat at our favorite Chinese spot. Now, even when returning from other errands and already in my car, I try to resist the temptation to stop in the village to “just pick it up,” but instead go home and return on foot. Added bonus: We see more of the neighborhood and our neighbors, note little changes.

    If I notice that we’re short of something late in the afternoon, I used to call and ask my husband to pick it up on the way home. in recent years, if at all possible, I wait until he gets home and we enjoy the walk together. Fortunately, the bakery, grocery and coffee shop are open until 7 or 8pm. But I walk alone to the butcher – that family closes right at 6 and goes home.


    1. I love your response, Kathleen! So many good examples of adjusting one’s daily routine just a bit to incorporate some sanity-saving exercise, fresh air – and in the case of your local “village” shopping, dining or library visits, supporting your neighbours and small business owners in a way that no drive to a Big Box store will ever do.


      1. Your second point is a big factor. When we moved here 20 years ago, aside from the library, banks, butcher and Chinese, local options for shopping etc. were not very good. We supported what was good (discovered early that the family butcher shop and Chinese restaurant were gems) but I did most shopping elsewhere and en route. Good grocery, bakery, coffee shops opened in the last 10 years, as well as an ice cream shop and a small Vietnamese restaurant. Our Oakland neighborhood is not a fancy place, far from it, but “the village” by the freeway has become an inviting community, much more than it used to be, so it’s a joy to support it and keep the process going. And we get the bonus of more exercise!


      2. I love this guy!

        We had one of his presentations in the heart rehab program. So many of the comments I receive from people with fibromyalgia say they can barely move and become bedridden. Some days it would be easier for me to do than getting up. I move in spite of the pain because I know that once I give in to the bed, the more I will embrace it 😦

        He gives so many tips about just light exercise that even the bedridden or wheelchair bound people can do.

        Thanks again, Carolyn!


        1. Interesting point about moving when you least feel like moving! I had a neighbour once who lived with crippling rheumatoid arthritis. She told me that she always took the stairs to her 3rd floor suite in our building so she could build in at least some regular exercise into each day.


        2. If we want to change heart disease patterns, we need to start much earlier in life. I think we need to look at the amount of sitting we require our children to do. By high school they are so overwhelmed with homework they spend the majority of the day sitting. Ride the bus an hour to and from school. Sit from 8-4, minus one hour of gym class. Come home, eat dinner and sit working on homework from 6-10 pm. That is too much and sets the stage for the disease process to take hold.


          1. This is the “generational case of sitting disease” Dr. Mike talks about. We’re starting to see the growth of “nature kindergartens” here, in which 5 year olds spend half the school day outdoors instead of sitting in a classroom – rain or shine, walking, running, learning by exploring the park, beach, and woods. Sign of things to come?


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