What is this Exercise you speak of?


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Merriam Webster defines exercise as physical activity that is done in order to become stronger and healthier. So many people equate exercise with lifting weights and other physical things they find boring. This negative outlook doesn’t inspire people to change their ways. As anyone into fitness can tell you exercise doesn’t have to be boring, it can be anything you make it.

If you notice in the definition it doesn’t explicitly spell out what exercise is outside of a physical activity. In the days before TV and the internets, people called this living life. Walking to the store? That’s exercise. Tending to the fields? That is exercise too. What I’m trying to get at is there is many ways a person can exercise. Don’t waste your time dwelling on what you don’t like and find something you do like.

As a personal trainer, it is my job to find what you do like so you stick with it and achieve results. There you have my business plan now, my secret is out. Any half-way decent personal trainer will tell you that. The client pool is going to dry up quickly if you have a template and strictly give people gym workouts of doing 3 sets of 10. Some people like the gym, others get intimidated, while others just like to be outside. Whatever you like is what you should do. That is the only way you will stick to it. For example, I am not a big fan of running long distances. I like being outside but I find it boring. So instead, I run intervals and lift weights with little rest periods in between. This way I still get a cardio workout, I can lower my beats per minute and I increase my lung capacity all without running more than a mile.

Sometimes I had to run long distances like training for a Tough Mudder. At the time, I would run 7-8 miles a day. I knew I had to do it, so I broke it into segments and made a game out of it. I would try to get a fast mile, pretend I was running from some dogs (which I had to do once) or pretend I was Jerry Rice training for a new season. It might sound stupid now, but during the time I was running it helped a lot. It made time go by and I stuck with it. You don’t have to be ultra creative, just think of something that sparks an interest. Like zombies? Then pretend you have a heard of zombies chasing you. Whatever works, it’s just you and your mind.

If you are just starting out and trying to achieve escape velocity from your couch, just start doing anything that gets you moving. Maybe something you used to do as a kid or in high school. Shoot some hoops, play tag with your kids or take your dog for a walk. There is nothing that makes my dog happier than going for a walks. No time for that? Schedule a walking meeting at work. There isn’t a better way to get to the point of an hour meeting in less time. You can also stand while you are working. They make attachments for standing desks now.

There are endless ways to get up and make small tweaks to your existing life that will benefit you in the long run. The health problems of sitting and doing nothing all day won’t be seen right now or maybe even in 10 years but a consistent pattern of inactivity will cause a whole host of health problems down the road. You don’t need to be ultra creative, just think a little bit and do some physical activity. That is exercise.