“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.”
― A.A. Milne
Even the shortest grocery list can take me hours to accomplish. Guy’s Grocery Games wouldn’t know how to edit down my meandering, wandering, and pure confusion into a half hour episode. One time, I looked for special pickles in the pickle section only to give up and later learn that special pickles are found in the special pickle section (there’s a special pickle section?). Easily overwhelmed and food ignorant, I take as many shortcuts as possible when going to the store. I know where park so there is less traffic, which registers to check out at to avoid the lines, and now, where to find the special pickles. Because I rely so heavily on anything that might make my shopping spree easier, when I see a parking spot only a cart push away from the door, I stop at nothing to ensure I get it.
Such spots are a hot commodity. Unless you’re trying to preserve your BMW from dings, you probably have a special eye just for spotting a convenient place to park. But for people in depressive states or recluses in their homes (like me), sometimes, it’s better to instead park far away, and use the opportunity to take a short walk outside that you otherwise might not ever take. This is called lazy exercise. It’s an idea I learned about from an app called Superbetter.
Lazy exercise is accomplished by seizing opportunities for small healthy actions in everyday tasks. It is exercise without much additional effort. Like parking far away or lifting a baby into the air ten times or using the stairs instead of the elevator, completing these convenient tasks equips everyday activities with greater purpose. And since lazy exercise is easily attainable, you feel accomplished as you take on small healthy steps, and make slow progress without much sweat.
Exercise takes intentionality, effort, and planning, and being active isn’t always as easy as it sounds. But if you start with lazy exercise, you can start building the mindset of healthier living. You can only achieve great tasks if you are willing to brave the small ones, and lazy exercise is a simple, convenient, and quick way of doing that.
With this in mind, my shopping adventures have gained new purpose. Instead of getting overwhelmed, I embrace the search for the special cheddar as an opportunity for a three and a half hour workout.