Escalator to the Gym

Almost everywhere you go these days you need to search amongst oversized people to find a regular sized person. I don’t know the numbers, but my observation in the Western world, is that overweight people seem to outnumber the people who aren’t overweight. I guess people like eating too much and not moving enough. But, we’re meant to move around – and probably while carrying something.

When I travel I see lots of people in airports pulling around small carry-on bags on wheels. I understand using wheels on big heavy bags. But, these days most of the airlines are encouraging us to only take carry-on luggage. And we’re often complying.

If you’re traveling light, you can benefit from going without wheels on small luggage. Instead of the wheelie bag, why not just use a bag you can hand carry or use with a shoulder sling? You’ll move around more quickly and negotiate tight spots, like the aisles on the plane and in the news stand, more easily. And you’ll wind up getting a little free exercise.

Is it human nature to avoid any possible exertion? Probably, but most people who can afford to fly  aren’t engaged in activities requiring them to seek relief from physical hardship. The stairs in airports are actually faster and very easy if you’re carrying your bag. You’ll begin to notice that the stairs are hardly used anymore in airports. Same deal with the moving sidewalks in airports – if it’s not your first time seeing one or you’re running late for a flight – why stand there for two minutes? It’s like people taking the escalator up to the gym to get a workout.

Have a look at this article about sitting that I just spotted in the NYT. Here’s an excerpt:

After assessing how much food each of his subjects needed to maintain their current weight, Dr. Levine then began to ply them with an extra 1,000 calories per day. Sure enough, some of his subjects packed on the pounds, while others gained little to no weight.

“We measured everything, thinking we were going to find some magic metabolic factor that would explain why some people didn’t gain weight,”… with the help of the motion-tracking underwear, they discovered the answer. “The people who didn’t gain weight were unconsciously moving around more,” Dr. Jensen says. They hadn’t started exercising more — that was prohibited by the study. Their bodies simply responded naturally by making more little movements than they had before the overfeeding began, like taking the stairs, trotting down the hall to the office water cooler, bustling about with chores at home or simply fidgeting. On average, the subjects who gained weight sat two hours more per day than those who hadn’t.