There are pros and cons to travelling with carry-on luggage only. One of the pros is that you can exit an airport quickly. I’ve arrived in Portugal and promptly jump on a public shuttle headed for Lisbon. Its warm, delightfully so. The beauty of this place starts to consume me and I’m already glad to be back. I love this place!

LISBON

As soon as I exit the bus in Lisbon I waste no time fulfilling a craving: a pasteis de nata and an espresso. The perfect combination.

The pasteis de nata, or Portuguese Tart, is a custard egg tart pastry dusted with cinnamon. It’s delicious. To me there’s nothing more European, or more satisfying to the pallet and the soul than standing on a street counter eating Portugal’s finest baked good with an espresso.

If you love coffee you’ll love consuming it in Portugal. They truly respect the bean!

And if you want a coffee in Portgual you’ll either stand on a street counter drinking an espresso or some other coffee of choice or you will sit. You’ll never be offered a take-away cup. Even when you want one it’s almost impossible to find.

So if throw away coffee receptacles that ruin the planet is your thing for coffee consumption then you’ll need to sell your soul and go find a Starbucks. Good luck with that. Thankfully there are very few of those around in Portugal!

Walking through the city of Lisbon is a profound experience but much as I’d love to stay I need to keep moving. I’m heading west to Cascais; a beautiful coastal town west of Lisbon.

CASCAIS

Cascais is a popular beach side town for many reasons but mostly because of its historical charm and proximity to Lisbon. Winding streets, tiled facades, cobble stone roads and a sea breeze! It’s picturesque and delightful.

I’ve spent days walking the city of Lisbon and Cascais, inspired by the sense of history and culture that oozes from it’s narrow ancient streets.

And doors! Portugese homes have the best doors.

SIT SIT SIT!

I sat on the train traveling to an airport in Austria. I sat in the airport lounge. I sat on the plane headed to Portugal and I sat on the shuttle to Lisbon. And surprise surprise, I sat on the train to Cascais!

We sit a lot. Even when traveling. But all of this sitting caused me to reflect on a very real 21st problem

Sitting Disease:

‘Sitting Disease’ is a term coined by the scientific community, commonly used when referring to metabolic syndrome and the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.

For example, 20mins of sitting in a fixed or sedentary position inhibits your metabolism. Within just a few minutes of sitting the electrical activity in your muscles will slow to about one calorie a minute. That’s about a third of what it does when you walk.

If you maintain a sitting regime of more than 6 hours a day over two weeks (and that’s easy to do), your body will have increased in fatty molecules (plasma triglycerides) and bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and have begun a process of becoming insulin resistant.

None of this is good.

Prolonged sedentary behaviour just gets worse from there. Days, months, years, decades! Your muscles atrophy, mobility deteriorates, maximum oxygen consumption drops, stairs get harder to climb. I don’t need to go on.

Curious to know if you ’re at risk of this disease? Try the ‘Sitting Time Calculator’ provided by Just Stand. They rate your risk for ‘Sitting Disease” using the following thresholds:

  • LOW risk indicates sitting less than 4 hours per day
  • MEDIUM risk indicates sitting 4 to 8 hours per day
  • HIGH risk indicates sitting 8 to 11 hours per day
  • VERY HIGH risk indicates sitting more than 11 hours per day

All of this information generally freaks me out so I try to keep moving! Which brings me to an interesting observation and a new BLOG segment.

While on the plane to Portugal, sitting for ages and writing this BLOG in response, I had the following realisation:

  • I’m now traveling full time
  • I no longer have the luxury of accessing a gym easily
  • I don’t have MovNat trainers pushing my physical and mental limits
  • I don’t have a fitness goal to aim for
  • I don’t even have access to regular locations (that I’m familiar with) to plan my workouts

So …

Welcome to my new segment. I call it, ‘Can I Get A Workout: HERE!’

I believe that you can get a workout ANYWHERE and that you don’t need a gym to rediscover or improve your fitness. So let me try and prove that to myself (again) and maybe to you too!

FAMILY HOME & A MINI WORKOUT

I’ve have not seen my family for five days and I’ve missed them. Reunions are awesome. My first stop in Cascais was to find a family friend’s house and reconnect with my family.

After hugs and stories and laughter and coffee, I can’t bear to be seated any longer!

It’s time for …  CAN I GET A WORKOUT: HERE!

First step, take a look around. What is there to use?

I found some decking (an open space with balance opportunities), a bag of fertilizer (weight), a TRX (that’s cool), a hose and a bunch of chairs. With just these few options I could think of a plethora of exercise options and opportunities.

Right now I just want to curb my feeling of sitting fatigue so I opt to stretch and play with a couple of balance, leg, middle and upper body exercise variations that help me realign my posture and put my legs under controlled stress.

I think that ‘Can I Get A Workout: HERE!’ is a very real-world challenge.

Challenge accepted.

 

To be continued …

Damien Norris is the founder and senior whole-body movement and lifestyle coach at The Wilding Project (LINK), Perth Western Australia.

Recently featured in TEDxPerth (LINK), Damien teaches children, young people, adults and seniors how to move and live a full life!

Olympic Fun & Fitness and The Wilding Project like Rewilding is dedicated to a movement rich life. Programs like Gymnastics, GymFIT, FootyEDGE, Parkour, Workplace Athletes, ActiveAgers and more all follow a simple philosophy, “Learn to move well and then never stop.”

Damien Norris