Why it’s ok to hate exercise

Dearest Reader,

I don’t know about you, but despite my best efforts to be a more active person, exercise doesn’t come naturally to me. I have never understood how people enjoy the discomfort of exhausting yourself, sweating and muscle aches, and it’s not something I can do without that little bit of “forcing myself”.

I recently saw a clip by brilliant comedian Tom Papa on Conan in which he explained why exercise is hard for us to do, and why it’s just so easy to get fat.

You’re trying not to be fat. Either way, fat’s coming. If you’re not fat, you’re working your ass off. You don’t eat food. Embrace it, your winners. That’s why you’re fat. Part of the first generation that doesn’t have to fight for survival. Good for you! Food everywhere. Perfect temperature everywhere you go. Every day you wake up a perfect 72 and snacky. Thank you America! It’s good. Just embrace it. Don’t tell me what you’re quitting – I don’t care. “I’m quitting gluten.” “I’m quitting meat.” You looked awful yesterday, you’re going to look worse tomorrow. Why are we talking about this? Let’s go get ice cream!

Tom Papa and I both speak from a position of privilege, of course. But if you are like me and one of the fortunate few to grow up in the world of excess and abundance, you’ll realise that yes, we don’t need to run around for survival, we don’t need to eat limited food because we can have as much as we want, and our efforts are spent not on surviving and foraging for food, but on engaging in physical activity despite our comforts, using things like the “pretend getaway machine” at the gym on which we run and sweat for virtually no reason at all.

Our evolution, it seems, has not kept pace with our luxuries, so we now must create artificial exercise, and resist succumbing to the convenience and luxuries we have at our fingertips. 

While this makes exercise in no way easier or more attractive, I feel better knowing that I’m not abnormal, and that it is perfectly acceptable not to be enthusiastic about exercising. It’s the kind of relief you get when you finally realise that everything that’s wrong in your life is your mother’s fault because that’s how psychology works.

In essence, my hate for exercise is Mother Nature’s fault – why did she give me a body that demands the sort of physical activity of an ancient Amazonian warrior and then put me to live at a time where there is virtually no need to move?

While we now have someone to blame, dearest reader, this is no excuse to let yourself go. Sure, sit down with Ben and Jerry and have a Saturday of binging Netflix. It would be silly not to, seeing as it’s right there. But you and I know that we can’t fight Mother Nature, and she wants you to get your ass off the couch and choke down a salad once in a while. Because if you don’t, she’ll literally kill you.

But just know that as you’re doing your squats and sweating in pain, my thoughts are with you and I angrily shake my fist with you at the irony of it all.