You may think that exercise and cuddling have nothing in common. While cuddling involves relative stillness and is easy to motivate yourself to do, exercise involves high levels of physical activity and, for most people, is extremely difficult to make yourself do.
However, I’d like us to take a look at the history of exercise. For a long time, before industrialization, exercise was easy to come by. Most people had to exert a lot of physical effort as part of their job, or at least as part of many daily tasks. In fact, it was seen as a status symbol to be overweight because it meant you were one of the few (the 1% if you will) who didn’t have to do any exercise and could afford to eat extravagantly.
Then, industrialization–and later, the growing prevalence of computers–allowed humans to stop moving around so much. Exercise was no longer a daily activity and people started to grow larger and more complacent. The evidence for this trend is plastered all over the media. People had originally thought of exercise as an activity that only athletes or soldiers needed to do. But when the lack of exercise started to lead to obesity and other serious health problems, the people turned to SCIENCE.
“Science!” they cried, “Help us! We are dying in new and increasing rates of heart disease and stuff! Tell us what we can do!”
So science looked into the problem and found that exercise is actually CRUCIAL TO OUR WELL-BEING. Not just if you make your living by moving around a lot, but for everyone, even kids! And following this discovery, we started to find other benefits of exercise. Exercise not only decreases your risk of all kinds of nasty health problems, it also regulates your mood! It promotes the production of endorphins, which are natural analgesics which relieve pain and aid relaxation. It’s good for your memory and a whole bunch of other parts of your brain!
Well, it’s obvious just from looking at a newspaper stand that exercise is now in vogue. And this is what exercise and cuddling SHOULD have in common. Cuddling is also an activity that people usually think of as being reserved for only certain specific situations (i.e., very intimate relationships.) And, like exercise, it is being done less and less due to the fast-paced, disconnected life of the age of computers. It, too has benefits that science has only recently begun to discover. It promotes the production of a highly valuable and useful hormone, even more crucial to human coexistence than endorphins, OXYTOCIN!
Clearly, cuddling’s position is very similar to exercise before its rise to mainstream popularity. So we propose the same revolution for cuddling that exercise has recently enjoyed. We want everyone to know about it! We want “20 tips for a better cuddle” on the front of every magazine! Or even, “Are you too skinny to please your partner during cuddling?” We want state of the art pillows! We want businessmen to hug instead of shaking hands! Parents to make special time for cuddling their kids!
All this being said, I’d like to finish with my favorite difference between cuddling and exercise: While I find it almost impossible to make myself exercise, I find it extremely easy to make myself cuddle. And I think that’s probably true for most people. It’s easy and fun and it feels great! So go hug your friends, your kids, your loved ones! Get in some prime caressing while you watch TV! Read with your dog or cat lying all up next to you. Their cuddles are just as beneficial! Go get some oxytocin!
And tell your friends: the Cuddle Revolution is coming.