Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable: 3 Ways to Get Physically and Mentally Stronger Without Exercise
Modern technology has given us the gift of almost never being uncomfortable. Is that a bad thing?
We live almost every minute of our lives in comfort.
Our temperature is controlled, we very rarely have to do any physical activity besides voluntary exercise, and technology provides us with all of the information we need in an instant.
This may seem like a great thing. For the most part, it is.
But it's making us weaker than our ancestors were.
Plus, we're completely reliant on it.
What would happen if you were dropped into the middle of nowhere, without your smart phone, air conditioning, and comfortable bed?
Would you know what to do?
More importantly, would you have the mental resilience to withstand the austere living conditions?
Modern technology completely protects us from consequences.
This blog is not only about staying fit while traveling, it's about creating a culture of fitter, healthier, self-reliant, and physically and mentally strong travelers that are ready to react and adapt to almost any situation.
Don't let comfort make you weak.
Here are three ways to be physically and mentally stronger that don't include exercising.
The show Dual Survival on the Discovery Channel takes two survival experts and puts them in the middle of nowhere with little to no survival gear. The experts then show you how to do things like build a shelter, start a fire, and signal for rescue.
One of these survival experts in the earlier seasons of the show was a guy named Cody Lundin.
Cody is a minimalist and doesn't wear pants or shoes.
No matter where Cody was in the show or how cold the temperature was, he was wearing shorts and no shoes.
Knee deep in snow?
He had shorts on.
His philosophy was simple: by exposing yourself to colder temperatures, you can make your body better able to withstand it. Cody often spoke about how this was changing his body on a cellular level and that his mitochondria were becoming stronger and more resilient when faced with the cold.
Then there's Wim Hof.
Known as "The Iceman" for his ability to withstand extreme cold, Wim has done some amazing things in cold weather.
He's climbed Mount Everest in shorts and runs barefoot marathons across snow in the Arctic.
Wim's philosophy is that with breathing, exposure, and meditation, you can increase your metabolism enough to warm yourself and even increase your immune system to fight off diseases more effectively.
He might be onto something:
Start small and try wearing shorts in colder temperatures than you normally would. Start your day with a cold shower.
Instead of tensing up when you get cold, breathe deeply and relax. Let the cold inside.
If you're like 86% of American workers, you sit all day for your job. Every day.
On top of that, most of us sit in our car or on a train during our commute to and from work.
We sit at home to eat our meals and watch television.
The effects of this lifestyle have become well-known in recent years and there's been some progress in making Americans more aware of the dangers of sedentary habits.
Sitting all the day time is making you physically and mentally weaker.
Life expectancy drops two years for someone who sits more than three hours a day.
The message is clear: reduce the amount of time you spend sitting to live longer and be healthier.
Train yourself to stand more often, even when you don't have to. The physical benefits are obvious but the mental aspect is just as important.
Building the mental fortitude to choose discomfort over comfort is empowering and will make you more resilient. You'll be more prepared to withstand hardship when it happens.
Be Less Dependent on Your Phone.
Smart phones are incredible.
We are in the midst of a major turning point in the history of human civilization thanks to the smart phone. We now have immediate access to nearly infinite amounts of information. We can connect with anyone around the world at any time. It really is amazing to think of how much has changed because of smart phones in the last ten years.
But what negative side effects are happening because of them?
Many of us don't even realize it.
Next time you're in a restaurant, take a look at everyone else in the room. Odds are that many of them are on their phones. In a restaurant! A place where we are supposed to be socializing and enjoying each other's company.
Social media might be the primary culprit in this case. It's addicting.
I'm not saying that we need to give up smart phones or social media. But it's good to have some discipline. It actually feels empowering to see everyone else glued to their phones and know that you're strong enough to resist the urge to check Facebook forty times a day.
Here's what to do.
Make a serious effort to reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone throughout the day. Check social media less. Prepare yourself for the eventuality that you may one day be without your phone. Know how to navigate and read a map instead of using Google Maps. Fill time in other ways. Read a book. Meditate.
Technology enabled comfort is making us physically and mentally weaker. It's making us sicker. We need some discomfort to truly flourish. We're hardwired for it. Try exposing yourself to the cold, standing more, and relying less on your phone. It will make you physically and mentally stronger.
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