Exercise opportunities

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Out of joint

Modern life is filled with distractions that distort your perception of reality and make you feel strung out and tired.
Television, computers, junk food, noisy neighbours, work, videogames, mobile phones, driving and family problems can all make you feel unhappy and agitated.
It is important to find ways to earth yourself. To be centred once again and complete. To find stillness and quiet. To rest. To stop.


A lot of people sit too much: on the sofa, at a desk, in a car. The lower body becomes weak, the buttocks spread and the waistline grows. Circulation is impeded.
Sedentary lifestyle/work habits are now considered to be a major cause of illness in modern society.


You can find tranquillity and balance in your everyday life. You do not need to join some esoteric meditation group. Exotic practices are not required.

Don't be lazy

There are so many opportunities for exercise in everyday life:

  1. Walking

  2. Carrying shopping

  3. Washing the dishes

  4. Dusting

  5. Mopping the floor

  6. Vacuuming

  7. Hanging out laundry on the line

  8. Folding laundry

  9. Ironing

  10. Changing the bed linen

  11. Rotating the mattress

  12. Cooking food from scratch

  13. Climbing the stairs

Each of these activities is inexpensive and requires no special equipment. Some activities contain multiple facets (such as cooking) and may involve, lifting, squatting and walking.

He did each single thing as if he did nothing else.

(Charles Dickens)


Apparent chores such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, gardening and ironing can be tremendously rewarding for the stressed individual. What is so satisfying about washing dishes?

A manageable task

Washing up is a simple, wholesome task. You begin with a mess.  You deal with the immensity of the task one piece at a time. There is a tangible starting point, a process and a completion point.
When the task has been finished, you can step back and appreciate the work. A dishwasher machine fails to provide the equivalent amount of exercise or psychological reward.

Working with your hands

Washing dishes is a tactile endeavour. You use your body. You must feel for dirt, for encrusted food. And you remove the problem systematically.
To do the job well, you need to keep your mind on what you are doing. Yet, it is not mentally taxing in any way. The very simplicity of the activity is its appeal.


Walking is a natural everyday activity that many people fail to invest time in. A relaxed, easy pace soothes the nerves. The sound of the birds outside and the feel of the breeze calms the mind.
The tension sinks into the floor.

Do it right

Take water with you when you walk. A small, comfortable backpack is ideal; it can carry water, a rain coat, a pullover etc. Leave your hands free. Put your phone away.

Peaceful walking

If you are alone, let your thoughts subside. Breathe. If you have companionship, why not keep the conversation healthy and interesting rather than depressing or stressful?

Learn to stop

In contrast with everyday exercise, we can also make time to rest... We are constantly caught up in speculative activities that upset our sense of balance. Driving is one of the worst culprits.
It involves countless variables, very real danger and a limited margin for error. Careful driving requires your nervous system to be very alert.
You may be in a condition of 'fight or flight' without even realising it.

Constructive rest

Try lying down for 15 minutes on a mat. For many people, this may the first real rest they've had all day.
People set time aside to watch television, but are not prepared to invest in rest. The 15 minutes spent resting on the floor may well be the most important 15 minutes of the entire day.

in the moment

Lying on the floor and doing chores will help you to collect your thoughts, calm down and stop.
Hanging out laundry and cleaning are considered 'beneath' many people. This is a foolish conceit. No one is any better or worse than anyone else.
What standard could you possibly be applying if you feel that you are 'above' other people?

Find balance

There is something truly wholesome about cooking a meal from scratch or planting your own vegetables. Hanging out the washing or organising the drying is relaxing.
Be slow. Be thorough. As if there were nothing else in the world to do.
These so-called mundane tasks are opportunities to take a break from the bustle of driving or the flickering of the internet and television. You can find peace in the very simplest of activities.
The inevitability of them, the predictability, the surety of the enterprise furnish you with calm.

Page created 27 June 2005
Last updated 15 May 2020