What Is Exercise? (If you want results in your workouts – you need to know this)
There is widespread confusion about what constitutes recreation and what constitutes exercise. I have fallen into this same confusion myself, as we all have, so be certain that many of your students and clients get stuck here. This inhibits them from reaching their best potential, getting the most benefits from their training, or worse, injuring themselves and losing the healthy lifestyle all together.
Because many highly strenuous recreational pursuits, such as a soccer game, a tennis match, martial arts class, swimming or training for a marathon, can produce an exercise effect, people think that they can be substituted for exercise. However, they cannot. In some cases, these recreational activities are very hard work. But just because something is hard, does not necessarily mean it has any genuine exercise value. Remember: exercise should make you stronger, more mobile and it should be measurable. Exercise is in no way to be competitive.
There is sport and there is exercise—the two are very different. The reason we often confuse them is that, in the modern day, many people have taken up recreational sporting activities as a way to stay active and fit; most times using this sport as a form of “exercise.” However, sports are not your exercise routine—recreational sports are your “activities,” “sports,” and “hobbies.” Your exercise routine is the strength and conditioning regimen used to get you in shape for your sport and to help you fortify your body and avoid injury from your sport, as well as in your life. So why all the confusion? Let’s face it—the word “activity” is bland, while a word like exercise merits respect amongst our friends and peers. When I say I exercise, it means that I have discipline, I am strong and healthy, and I care about myself. Activity, on the other hand, could be a random act of anything. You might still be confused—I know I once was. I thought that people who go and play basketball with their friends or run marathons or box are exercising—but no, they are being active, and perhaps they are recreational athletes, or even professional athletes. But if you notice, even marathon runners, swimmers, football players, and all other athletes have a strength and conditioning exercise routine exclusive of their sport.
The definition of exercise: Injury prevention and performance enhancement. The byproduct of exercise: Weight-loss, better body composition.
There are two standard reasons to follow an exercise program:
Performance enhancement: a solid exercise program is meant to improve your ability in a specific sport. This is why triathletes, basketball players, tennis players, swimmers, and all other professional athletes take part in a regular, regimented, and prescribed strength and conditioning routine. In a non-athlete, this should help a person become more mobile, able, stronger, and all-around healthier with their body and their daily life performance.
Injury prevention: as you train, workout or exercise (all interchangeable terms), you are fortifying and balancing your body. Correct exercise should never lead to injury. While minor injuries can be common when playing a sport, it is absolutely not okay to get hurt lifting a weight or a kettlebell or doing a push-up. The latter, (i.e. the exercises) are made to fortify your body and aid injury prevention. In a non-athlete, this will help a person regain a balance and avoid muscle imbalances and overuse injuries from both activity and sedentary lifestyle.
Most people, however, take on exercise to lose weight. Others to get healthy and pain-free. This is great, but again, the standard exercise definitions are explained above, and all other benefits are a byproduct that will 100% happen with well-structured training.
Let us start by further defining “exercise.” Exercise is:
. 1 a dedicated, disciplined practice
. 2 based upon the five human movement patterns
. 3 wherein the involved muscle structures are loaded in a meaningful but measurable manner
. 4 whereas the load or stress placed on these muscle structures is applied in a way that does not produce injury
. 5 but, in fact, strengthens the structure in such a way to prevent injury
. 6 true exercise is general, with low skill, while recreational activities are specific, and require higher skill sets
Once you understand this fact you can take your training further and begin to truly see results. Programing and planning the right exercises and training and staying away from mis-using your activities and sports.
You will be able to set goals and meet them, setting new milestones and progressing ins moment quality, strength, agility, endurance, weight management, lean muscle and over all health as well as performance in your life and in any physical activity you choose to do.