© 2020 Tulia
Mediterraneans don’t swing kettlebells. They don’t count calories, miles, or bpms. For the most part, they don’t subject themselves to the strict, disciplined and usually unsustainable exercise routines and diets that the rest of us do. By and large, Mediterraneans don’t really exercise.
But that’s not to say they laze around all day either. The rhythms of life in that part of the world are a bit slower, so nobody’s in a hurry to get where they have to go. Small communities mean everyone can handle the responsibilities of the day on foot. The farmer’s market, the bakery, or the dairy shop are all within walking distance. They walk to their friend’s and family’s homes, and when they want to do something leisurely, that’s right, they go for a walk. Nobody really thinks about the benefits of walking, they’re just living their lives. But researchers have thought about it plenty.
They’ve found that walking can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and can cut the risk of dying by 32%. The benefits are equal for both men and women even at distances of just 5½ miles per week and at a pace as casual as about 2 miles per hour. Basically, any walking is good walking.
In addition to putting one foot in front of the other, the Mediterranean lifestyle is just a bit more analog than in other parts of the world. People are gardening, dancing, making amazing meals from scratch. Have you ever seen an Italian Grandma kneading dough? That’s tough work. And the best part is, they’re all doing things they love. We may be hard pressed to give up all the convenience and speed of our modern world, but there is much to learn from grandma.
While we may not live in little villages, we can take a page from the Mediterranean handbook of healthy living and just get up! Standing at work is a great way to mitigate the effects of our sedentary lifestyle. It’s good for your bones, it’s good for your digestion, it’s good for your brain, and it may actually make you happier at your job.
Just by standing, you’re more likely to do more moving around. That means you’re more likely to chat with your neighbor, to ask your boss a question, to be more engaged and productive in general when you’re at work.
Back to grandma and her dough kneading. Cooking from scratch has many obvious benefits, not the least of which is avoiding eating out. The convenience and availability of food in our modern world is fraught with pitfalls. It’s just too easy to grab fast food that’s loaded with empty calories, as well as tons of other nasties like preservatives, chemicals, sugar, sodium... the list goes on.
Cooking from scratch takes time and effort, but it’s a labor of love. You’re not only eating better when you prepare your own meals, you’re burning calories. And the food. Oh, the food! Mediterranean eating doesn’t mean eating tree bark and grass. Instead, think chocolate mousse, artichoke bruschetta, and sweet potato falafel. There’s nothing about the Mediterranean diet that suggests depriving yourself of the flavors you love, and thank goodness for that!
Eating delicious, healthy food. Living a moderate, fun, connected and active life. No wonder the Mediterranean lifestyle has endured for 5,000 years. We’ll take it over kettlebells any day.
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