woman exercising indoors

The Art of ‘Lazy Exercise’: Why You Should Learn It

woman exercising indoors

One of our college friends was a girl who spent a lot time at the gym. It worked for her. She would bring a book and set it up on the treadmill. It was a horrible idea that we also tried, it resulted in a bouncing book and a terrible workout. I couldn’t even report back one word we had read.

Although we don’t know how she did it exactly, we have a similar habit now. For cardio, we usually get on a spinbike most mornings. The phone is the best friend. We spend a lot of workout scrolling through it, texting friends, reading articles, planning the day (probably you do the same). And brain is also moving while exercising.

To be clear, this is not the only exercise that we do. We also have weight lifting, kettlebell collection, and high-intensity intervals. It’s important to do some exercise that doesn’t feel like work.

Walking is the best example. Why not try this approach to other types of exercise?

It’s a great place for beginners to get started. After the pandemic and before we all had own home gym, we used to drag ourselves to the gym early in the mornings. We started each session gently. We would walk to the rows of exercise bikes, looking for a recumbent model with a back. I would lie down on that chair, turn the pedals and then try to get up. It would usually work within five to 10 minutes and then we’d get on with the real workout.

Steph Auteri, a Book Riot contributor, writes about how to exercise while reading. This made us think of that college friend on the treadmill. But she goes in a different direction. You can do a range of yoga poses while you read. She can read in a butterfly pose, a pancake stretch or even a supported bridge pose. These moves are not the most intense exercises a person could do. They are not the best, but they beat sitting still and doing nothing.

Our experience is that we get more exercise when we do some mental exercise. An hour on the bike with the heart rate in zone 1 and 2 constitutes an active rest day. You’ll see us there most Sunday mornings. Even though ten minutes of texting or reading on the phone while we cycle is not a “Real Workout”, it’s still a good workout. We usually feel comfortable enough after ten minutes that we can put phone down and crank up the intensity. This is another advantage of lazy exercise.

The funny thing about it is that if your thinking like an athlete, then you will probably need more lazy exercise in you life. If you’re a runner, most of your running volume should be performed at a jog that feels almost like a joke. This can be done on the treadmill or on an incline treadmill.

Find a way to add lazy exercise to your daily routine. You can read while doing it, talk to your friends, or listen to a podcast or an audiobook that isn’t compatible with a rigorous workout. See if you can finish the week with more exercise than you would otherwise have.

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