I'm so much more free with spending my money than I would have imagined myself being given who I was in high school and college, and I am too lazy to do the research to really get good deals on stuff like for example Ben does, but my spectrum for comfortable spending is clearly different from other people's.
I also don't particularly have any desire to be obscenely wealthy. Yeah, I would like to be living on my own in a nice condo in Davis Square, and I would like a personal tailor so I can have pants and (button-down) shirts that actually fit my figure well, but in general I don't feel like my income level keeps me from doing much that I want to do.
Today I read the TIME article "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin" by John Cloud [Sunday, Aug. 09, 2009].
My favorite part is from page 4 of the web version:
It's likely that I am more sedentary during my nonexercise hours than I would be if I didn't exercise with such Puritan fury. If I exercised less, I might feel like walking more instead of hopping into a cab; I might have enough energy to shop for food, cook and then clean instead of ordering a satisfyingly greasy burrito.I've talked before about how this mentality is so bizarre to me -- that people go to the gym but have these really sedentary lives outside of the gym (e.g., "I go to the gym so I don't have to take the stairs"). I grew up walking everywhere, so my sense of what's baseline activity is very different from other people's. The idea of carving out time in my day to go do intense concentrated physical activity was never really appealing to me, and it's weird to me that I've become someone who has a very regular gym routine (and can actually have conversations about this!), but I go to the gym to make my body stronger and healthier in ways that have value to me.
The article continues:
The problem ultimately is about not exercise itself but the way we've come to define it. Many obesity researchers now believe that very frequent, low-level physical activity — the kind humans did for tens of thousands of years before the leaf blower was invented — may actually work better for us than the occasional bouts of exercise you get as a gym rat. "You cannot sit still all day long and then have 30 minutes of exercise without producing stress on the muscles," says Hans-Rudolf Berthoud, a neurobiologist at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center who has studied nutrition for 20 years. "The muscles will ache, and you may not want to move after. But to burn calories, the muscle movements don't have to be extreme. It would be better to distribute the movements throughout the day."
For his part, Berthoud rises at 5 a.m. to walk around his neighborhood several times. He also takes the stairs when possible. "Even if people can get out of their offices, out from in front of their computers, they go someplace like the mall and then take the elevator," he says. "This is the real problem, not that we don't go to the gym enough."