Every day I usually hear the word exercise used in different ways to describe a multitude of activities. The activities I hear range from someone announcing their job entails enough labor to be considered “good exercise”, to an individual participating in the latest group exercise fad at their local gym. In a sense I suppose any physical activity could potentially be considered “exercise.” So in today’s world where obesity and type II diabetes are at an all-time high, it is important to narrow the definition down to better help individuals achieve success as it relates to their health and fitness.
The first and most important idea when thinking of exercise should be body adaption. No matter what your goal is, the whole purpose of exercise is to cause an adaption of the body. Most individuals are interested in creating a positive body adaption for both the short term and long term. Simply stated, this means you should be better off tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year as a result of performing “exercise.” Some of the most popular positive body adaptions are losing weight (getting leaner,) getting stronger/adding muscle, and improving one’s quality of life. Exercise uses the laws of science to achieve positive body adaptions like these. If you are performing random movements that do not use the laws of science to help cause both short term and long term body adaptions, then you should not consider it exercise. So whenever you are performing an activity that you would like to consider “exercise,” ask yourself these questions… How does this exercise fit into part of a larger plan? Is this activity helping me to achieve my specific goals? Does this activity allow for progress and adaption? Will I be better over time from performing this activity?
When thinking of exercise, we should next think of intent. When performing an activity, what is your intent? Are you trying to get through your regular daily activities such as going to work or taking care of your house? If this is the case then you are probably not performing “exercise.” Rather, you are performing general physical activities that have gotten you to your current level of health and fitness. In order to progress past your current level of fitness and health a careful plan needs to be implemented that should be separated from your regular daily physical activities. Take even the most physically demanding job in the world. This individual most likely has a pretty good base of health and fitness because of their job. However, if their goal is to be the best possible version of themselves then they should be training on a strategic plan to strengthen their weaknesses. This could be improving mobility and mechanics to help reduce the chance of injury. This could also entail improving their nutrition so that it better matches their needs. It could even be specific training to help them get more proficient at their job itself. Whatever the goal, exercise should be a conscious selection that is a small part of a larger plan.