3 Reasons to Rethink Exercise
“I hate exercise, but I know I need to do it,” she said. “I just have never been able to stick with it.”
“Hey, no worries,” I replied. “You are definitely not alone. Maybe you should rethink exercise.”
It’s not the best sales pitch, especially since I have made the choice to own a gym and make a living (sort of) in the health and fitness industry. But I vowed long ago to give people truth, to empower people to find their journey in this whole mess. If you are struggling with your exercise gig, maybe it’s time to rethink exercise yourself.
3 Reasons to Think About Exercise Differently
YOU MIGHT NOT REALIZE THAT EXERCISE IS COMPLETELY AGAINST YOUR DNA.
Calm down. I am not saying you need to sit on your butt and feel good about it. But if you really think about exercise, it is completely ridiculous. The very programming of your DNA has a STRONG affinity for conserving energy. All energies should be conserved for the efforts necessary to acquire food, create shelter, and run for your life. You don’t want to waste that shit… haha! “Going for a jog” or “Picking up heavy weight and putting it down” just for the hell of it is asinine in the context of survival. Fortunately, and unfortunately, modernity makes all this basic survival pretty damn easy. That means lots of calories are easy to acquire and you have to actually create opportunities to burn said calories. Dang it.
YOU MIGHT THINK EXERCISE IS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY FIT.
An archery range is for people who shoot a bow and arrow, a racetrack is for people who race cars and a gym is for people who exercise. That doesn’t mean you aren’t welcome at these places. But entering a new realm (where everyone else already knows what’s going on) is freaking intimidating. I can’t imagine if you also feel like you look differently because you are heavier than ever, bent over in pain, or starting to notice yourself being less agile. If walking up a flight of stairs gets you breathless, performing exercise is going to be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is very very different than painful.
YOU MIGHT FEEL LIKE EXERCISE IS ONE MORE THING YOU HAVE TO DO.
I don’t know you, but if I had to guess, I’d guess you are already doing too much. AND if I had to guess, when you do start exercising, you do too much of that, too. That’s probably why you have quit more exercise programs than you have completed. When you are already overwhelmed by the things you have to do for work, for parenting, and for Spouse-ing, adding in exercise can be the final thing that crushes you physically and mentally. The pervasive message is that you need to do A LOT of exercise, too. You don’t.
I should take a second to say that, personally, I love exercise… most of the time. I should also say that I loved it a lot more before I was married with children. These days, exercise can often feel like something else I need to squeeze in. It can also feel stagnant and lacking in purpose. I’ve had to rethink exercise in my own life and it has been the best thing I’ve ever done for my mental and physical well being. As a parent and a wife, the last thing I need is something else to feel guilty about. As a business owner, the last thing I need is something else to take me away from my family.
MOVEMENT is all the things you do in the process of experiencing life. It’s the jumping on the trampoline with your kids, the pick up basketball game, the family bike ride, the game of tag, the awkward carrying of two kids on the end of a great hike, and the race to the top of a tree with your son. Movement is wrestling and pretending and squealing and laughing. Movement is the good stuff that you need more of because it connects you to other people, lifts your spirits, and (psst! top secret) shapes your body without you even thinking about it. EXERCISE is what you mix in to compliment that movement. It keeps you strong while you run the marathon of life. Exercise should bring you back from the little injury you acquired while having fun, not cause the injury that takes you away from life. Exercise should make you better at the things you enjoy, not take the place of them. That’s a big difference.
So, Should You Exercise?
Yes. Hell yes. And if you love it, go ahead and do a bit more of it. But don’t ever think it’s the main event. Humans haven’t survived all these millenia because we are great movers. Hell, a hippo can outrun the fastest man on Earth and a manatee will put you to shame in the water. We are the laughing stock of the animal kingdom. What sets Humans apart, and has allowed us to survive, is that we know how to exist in community. We can work together and we can bond over that physical exertion forming even stronger connections. At our gym, Haka Fitness, we have an amazing retention rate per industry standards. We have knowledgeable coaches and great programming. People love all that. But what actually keeps people at our gym is the relationships, the games, and the laughs. You should exercise, but you should move a whole lot more.
**To read more of Becca’s thoughts on Movement Vs Exercise, hop over to her website and check out the Movement Section!