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Physical Activity Then vs Now

August 31, 2017 by HealthyFamiliesBC

Physical activity then vs now

Why are gyms and fad fitness routines modern things? Well, truth of the matter is, most people didn’t focus on them as much in the past because lives were simply much more physically active.

For fun, I imagined a typical day for me about 100 years ago and compared it to what it is today Check it out!

1917 Vs. 2017
Get up with the sun! 5:30 am Get up with an alarm on my smart phone.
Eat breakfast. Then head out to the farm and get equipment ready for the day’s work. 6 am Go for a run with some HIIT intervals, stretch, and shower.
Do manual labour on the farm. Lift heavy bags, rake and shovel, and walk to different areas that need work done. 7 am Commute to work by transit, eat breakfast on the go and have coffee at work. Do work on my computer and talk on the phone (make sure I stand when I do!).
Eat a healthy homemade lunch of soup and turkey sandwiches. 12 pm Eat lunch; grab a sandwich and cookie from the café down the street. Try and go for a 20 min stroll to shake out my legs and get some fresh air.
Cut and split fire wood, mend fences, and tend to the animals. Later in the afternoon, do smaller tasks like repairing equipment and helping with dinner. 1 pm Do more computer work. Go to the washroom on another floor so I can use the stairs.
Have dinner with lots of produce from the garden. 5 pm Take the bus back home. Check my twitter feed while sitting (I know I should stand…).
Relax with family. Play cards or go for a little canoe paddle on a nearby lake. 6:30 pm Eat dinner. Catch up on the news on my computer and pay bills with online banking. Watch a Netflix show (or two!). Some nights play Frisbee with some buddies.

Wow, what a comparison! You can clearly imagine how much more active lives in the past were with this example. Hence, a big reason why we now have guidelines that recommend healthy adults accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity per week and two muscle strengthening sessions per week.

It’s always a good idea to move more and sit less (especially for us folks with office jobs). Tonight I’m going try getting off the bus a few stops early and walking the rest of the way home to keep moving. Our friend Dr. Mike Evans has made a great video called “Make your day harder” that covers really well how to increase the amount of activity in your day; check it out here!

Try and picture your life 100 years ago. How much more active do you think it would have been?

Related blogs

What’s the Key to Being Active? Scheduling It!
Sunrise to Sunset: Here’s What an Active Day Can Look Like

Recommended resources

American College of Sports Medicine: Reducing Sedentary Behaviors: Sitting Less and Moving More



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