There’s a new study out suggesting that doing dishes, gardening, even showering– what the researchers are calling “daily life movement” can reduce mortality risk from heart attack and other cardiovascular disease in women. Of course, the news article features a woman doing dishes and smiling:
This image reminds me of all those smiling women eating salad:
I have opinions about the new study, which you’ll hear about soon. But in the meantime, we at Fit is a Feminist Issue have been covering the housework-as-exercise beat for some time. In case you missed some of them, here are a few posts we’ve written about housework, fitness and exercise.
Tracy wrote about how calorie count lists for household chores is a set up to divert women away from movement they might love and toward more gender-stereotypical behaviors:
You’re all ready to go. You know what you want, it’s in alignment with your long term goals and values, and you’re feeling inspired–and then, you just can’t seem to make it stick. That new habit of going for a walk after work or fitting some fruit into breakfast most days or prepping weekly vegetables on Sunday night. You do it a few times, then life gets hard, and pffft, it’s gone.
In my humble, non-professional opinion, motivation isn’t the problem. Everyone’s feelings (motivation is just an emotion after all) will ebb and flow. People learn to stick to habits without constant motivation all the time. When was the last time you got really stoked to floss your teeth?! The problem is creating a routine that we remember to do that feels natural, so that there’s a low bar to cross for compliance.
With the first month of 2022 behind us, many may be losing steam when it comes to sticking to their New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because people either set unrealistic goals that leave them discouraged or fail to hold themselves accountable through tracking their progress, Lindsay Ogden, a NASM-certified personal trainer at the health club chain Life Time, tells Health.
Therefore, the key to setting yourself up for fitness goal success is devising them with the SMART method in mind.
So rather than most people exercising a moderate amount through daily movement and everyday exercise, we’ve got a few people who work out a lot while the majority of people get no exercise at all. ( Again, I say “we” because although these are US numbers, Canadians aren’t much better.)
Adding exercise to your daily routine is a common resolution entrepreneurs make and quickly abandon months after starting. Exercise improves mental health, boosts productivity and has countless physical benefits, but creating a new habit is hard. A lot of business owners won’t stick to their new workout plan as soon as life gets “busy.”
The hardest part of exercising regularly is forming that lasting habit. Once you establish a habit, exercise will become second nature or even something you look forward to each day. Here are some tips to help create an exercise routine you can carry with you beyond just the early stages.
One of the most common things I hear from people who don’t exercise regularly is, “I know I should do it, but I just don’t have motivation. How can I get motivated to work out?”
I understand how they feel, because that used to be me, too. It feels like a mountain to overcome. It feels like you must have something lacking inside. I used to think of athletes and fit people as some kind of unicorn, possessing innate magic and abilities that I just didn’t.
The truth is fit people don’t necessarily have more motivation or willpower than you. They have simply formed a regular habit of exercise. For some of us, this doesn’t come naturally and we may have to work at it, but it is absolutely within your reach.
That’s because exercise success isn’t dependent on motivation or willpower. Rather, it’s about habits.
“Some podcasts only talk the talk, but in today’s episode David and Ellie walk the walk (or talk the walk?) by diving into the philosophy of walking. Walking is a complex sociocultural practice that raises fascinating questions about history, power, and freedom. Why did our ancestors transition from walking on all fours to walking on two legs, and how did this shape our evolution as a species? Why have so many philosophers throughout history (from Aristotle to Rousseau) insisted on incorporating walks into their daily routines? And how do systems of oppression—such as classism, racism, sexism, transphobia, and ableism—mold our experience of walking, determining where and even how we can walk?”
“After analyzing government services through a process known as “gender-balanced budgeting,” many Swedish cities, including Stockholm, prioritize snow clearance very differently. They now clear walkways and bike paths first, especially those near bus stops and primary schools. Next, they clear local roads, and then, finally, highways.”
Who’s that Bond villain stroking a cat and yelling at beloved public figures? It’s Karl Lagerfeld! This week, Mike and Aubrey go in on fashion’s favorite turbo troll and his fancy, joyless diet. This episode serves four.”
“New Year’s resolutions. We’ve all had one at some point, and we’ve all probably given up on at least one, if not more. In fact, the next couple weeks are the time when most people will give up on their resolutions, from being nicer to their mom to going to the gym. If your resolution is to get along better with your mother, maybe you should try to stick that one out. But if your resolution has anything to do with weight loss or dieting, it’s actually OK to let it go. You should base your New Year’s resolutions — or any self-improvement goal, really — on health and fitness rather than dieting or losing weight. “
“For anyone that has shoveled snow, you know it can be a workout! Pushing and throwing that wet, heavy snow can be comparable to a weight-lifting session or even an aerobic workout on the treadmill. According to LiveStrong, an average person can burn 223 calories per 30 minutes while shoveling snow. So the next time Mother Nature decides to give you an outdoor workout, treat it like you would a gym and prepare! Here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your fun in the snow:”
“Oh boy, that snow is not going anywhere. For those who live in Ontario and Quebec, you’ve seen a yuge snowfall. The drifts are everywhere, main roads are slippery, and the side ones are precarious at best.
Crews are working as fast as they can, but there’s a LOT of snow.
Canadian Cycling Magazine loves to encourage riders to cycle outside as much as possible, and is a firm believer in all-year biking. But maybe, just maybe, you deserve a rest day today? Unless it’s absolutely necessary. Or just turn on Zwift and don’t look out the window.
The bike paths seem to be the last things on the city’s mind today.”
Here’s Reason 4: “Many cyclists are working from home this year which means far fewer chances to get some much needed vitamin D. When you dress properly for the cold, the mental health benefits of going for even a short ride though the neighbourhood can be significant.”
“An analysis of Sweden’s snow clearance practices showed that it disadvantaged women, who were more likely to walk, while employment districts where men predominantly worked were more likely to have streets plowed first.
Not only was the impact of snow clearance priorities discriminatory, there were negative consequences for society as a whole. Three times as many people are injured while walking in icy conditions in Sweden than while driving. And the cost of those injuries far exceeds the cost of snow clearance.
So the order was reversed. Municipalities faced no additional cost for clearing pedestrian paths first. And it reduced injuries, in addition to being objectively fairer.”
“GPs are to begin prescribing “judgment-free” fitness classes for women seeking help with conditions including diabetes and depression. Designed by Sport England, This Girl Can classes will be launched across the country early next year, drawing on the success of its award-winning campaign of the same name. This Girl Can was launched in 2015 after research showed women wanted to be more active but were held back by fear of being judged. In five years it helped more than 500,000 women and girls to become more physically active. But while things improved, research commissioned by Sport England found more than half of women continued to say they were prevented from exercising, at least occasionally, by worries about what others think.”
“It seems the majority of Canadian adults aren’t making the grade when it comes to physical fitness. The second report card for adults from ParticipAction, a non-profit group that promotes healthy living and typically ranks children’s fitness levels, suggests many had poor activity levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. It gives grown-ups an “F” for sedentary behaviour after finding 88 per cent of surveyed adults said they were relatively inactive more than eight waking hours per day. Examples of such behaviour include sitting while watching television, playing video games, listening to music, doing paperwork or commuting. The report, released Tuesday, also gives adults a “C” when it comes to both total daily steps and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.”
“The holidays are coming, and I am ready. I finally know what to say when somebody tells me I look great, that I look like I’ve lost weight, that my skin looks good. I will quote Jonah Hill, the actor and producer, who wrote on Instagram, “I know you mean well but I kindly ask that you not comment on my body. Good or bad I want to politely let you know it’s not helpful and doesn’t feel good. Much respect.” Do you think that will work? I’m not sure. This new policy may upset people. They could feel defensive because their intentions are pure. They don’t realize what happens in my head when the subject of my body comes up; the shock of remembering that I have or perhaps simply am a body.”
From the ‘too much’ piece: “A new study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, Missouri, which monitored 100 adults in their mid to late seventies over several years, apparently found an association between less than five and a half hours’ sleep or, rather astonishingly, more than seven and a half hours and declining cognitive performance. The “sweet spot”, where cognitive function remained stable, was in “the middle range” (ie 5.5-7.5 hours) of total sleep time.”
From the ‘6 hours or less isn’t enough’ piece: “The researchers found that those who are sleep-deprived had more than a twofold greater risk of colds and flu. In those people who are vaccinated, we see an increased development of antibodies to combat the viral pathogen, and that’s accelerated when you couple vaccine appointments with healthy sleep duration.”
So more than seven and a half hours is too many and less than six is too few. Got it.
Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, the trailblazing basketball player who set up an academy for girls and coached multiple sports at an Islamic school in London, Ont., has been denied permanent residency in Canada and will have to go back to the United States.
“The newly installed Taliban regime will forbid Afghan women from playing cricket and other sports where their bodies might be seen, a senior official told Australian public broadcaster SBS.
“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” said Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, according to a translation by SBS.
Afghanistan has a national women’s cricket team — but its status has been thrown into question along with every other woman in the country after the Taliban ousted the U.S.-backed government. Female athletes who once aspired to competing at the international level have resorted to hiding or attempting to flee the country.”
More quotes from Jamie Lee Curtis that have been making the rounds on social media:
“I have been an advocate for natural beauty for a long time, mostly because I’ve had the trial and error of the other part.
“I did plastic surgery – it didn’t work. I hated it. It made me feel worse.
“I tried to do everything you can do to your hair. Personally, I felt it was humiliating. I would go into a hair salon, the smell of the chemicals, the feeling of that colour on my hair, sitting under the hairdryer – it was like, for what?
“So very early on in my career, I had a perm and then had to dye my hair for a movie, and it burned my hair off my head! And the first time I cut my hair short I went, ‘Oh! Oh my god. Oh wow! I look like me!’
“Since then I stopped dyeing it, and then I’ve been an advocate for not f**king with your face.”
“The term, anti-ageing… what? What are you talking about? We’re all going to f**king age! We’re all going to die? Why do you want to look 17 when you’re 70? I want to look 70 when I’m 70.
“The current trend of fillers and procedures, and this obsession with filtering, and the things that we do to adjust our appearance on Zoom are wiping out generations of beauty”
On cosmetic surgery: “It’s also very dangerous. It’s like giving a chainsaw to a toddler. We just don’t know the longitudinal effect, mentally, spiritually and physically, on a generation of young people who are in agony because of social media, because of the comparisons to others. All of us who are old enough know that it’s all a lie. It’s a real danger to young people.”
I WANT TO LOOK OLDER
I want to look like me, but I want to look older.
I want to look just like myself, but with wrinkles.
I want to look the same but wiser, I want to look the same but softer, I want to look the same but more peaceful, serene almost, yet with a glitteringly life-filled laugh that could cut through the gloomiest of atmospheres, like a hot knife through butter.
No need to tell me I look young or younger, if you must comment on my ageing journey, tell me I look like myself, but older.
Because not only is this true, it’s the biggest compliment I could receive.
It took me a long time to really become myself, why would I want to look like someone else now, why would I want to hide how far I have come and how blessed in time I have been?
I want to look like me, but I really do want to look older. Not everyone gets to.
By Donna Ashworth from UK: To The Women: words to live by
‘Women have another option. They can aspire to be wise, not merely nice; to be competent, not merely helpful; to be strong, not merely graceful; to be ambitious for themselves, not merely for themselves in relation to men and children. They can let themselves age naturally and without embarrassment, actively protesting and disobeying the conventions that stem from this society’s double standard about aging. Instead of being girls, girls as long as possible, who then age humiliatingly into middle-aged women, they can become women much earlier – and remain active adults, enjoying the long, erotic career of which women are capable, far longer. Women should allow their faces to show the lives they have lived. Women should tell the truth.’ Susan Sontag – The Double Standard of Aging (1972)
Better eatsNick Whitaker: The kitchen of 2020 looks mostly the same as that of 1960. But what we do in it has changed dramatically, almost entirely for the better—due to a culture of culinary innovation.
And this year, Feminist Philosophy Quarterly ( a journal I helped found and co-edited for a few years) published a special issue on Feminism and Food. This collection of anonymously peer-reviewed articles is the result of the call for papers inspired by the 2019 meeting of the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy hosted by the University of Guelph, on the topic of feminism and food.
Did you know there was a feminist food club? I didn’t either. I don’t know if this yummy looking banana and blueberry French toast is particularly feminist but I might make some this week for #FrenchToastFriday.
See also The Olympics Don’t Want Black Women To Win. Taryn Finley writes, “Sha’Carri Richardson, Christine Mboma, Beatrice Masilingi and others have been disqualified in the 2021 Olympics because of policies that are racist and unjust. There is no grace for for Black women at the 2021 Olympics.”
And then there’s this tweet which also lists the issues.
I know that some people want to say that these issues have nothing in common, that it’s not about race, it’s about rules that don’t mention race, but one thing all the cases have in common is that they target Black women Olympic athletes.
Ditto the swim cap story. There’s a lot of commentary that says competitive athletes would never wear such a swim cap since it would slow them down. Maybe that’s true. But if it puts someone at a competitive disadvantage, it’s hard to see why they’d be banned at the Olympics. It’s hard not to reach the conclusion that race is a factor and that the normative ideal of the Olympic athlete is white, in addition to being conventionally gendered.