But even today, with increasing awareness that a holistic approach to health and fitness will best serve all of us – from the ‘average everyday active individual’ to the elite athlete – there seems to be a disconnect amongst the masses about what Exercise really is.
Interview the average person, and it seems that exercise isn’t exercise unless it involves a minimum intensity output along the lines of High Intensity Interval Strength Training – which is to say that you haven’t done anything unless you’re laid out on the floor in a pool of sweat, panting heavily, and limp from the grueling work you’ve just done.
And it’s a shame because this perception leaves a lot of people open to training themselves really hard, with minimal results to show for it.
It doesn’t have to be that way!
But the key, of course, is to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it . . . as well as to be comfortable with what you’re doing. If you can accomplish this, you’ll get what you want . . . oftentimes faster than you thought possible!
It All Comes Down To, Where Are You At? And Where Do You Want To Go?
Exercise is conscious movement/movement with a purpose — the key phrase being movement with purpose as aimlessly flailing around certainly isn’t going to give you results.
So . . . for exercise to deliver what you want, build your training program by answering the following:
- What is the current state of your body? (Your physical structure, underlying physiology, psychological state, belief systems, etc. determined by assessments and honest introspection . . .)
- What SPECIFIC goals you want to accomplish? (Whether it’s deadlifting 450 lbs or the ability to play ‘tickle monster’ and chase your kids around the house without falling into an exhausted heap.)
The answers to the questions above then determine:
- The specific movements to be done (those that will enhance your structure and function by addressing the ‘weak links’
- The body’s ability to handle exercise, and the ideal ‘dose’ that corresponds with that ability.
- The specific conditioning parameters to emphasize in order to reach your specific goals. (Those ‘parameters’ being: strength, mobility, flexibility, endurance, power, etc.)
It’s really simple, isn’t it?
Exercise is movement – movement defined by purpose and by the specific goals that you want to achieve. The thing is, ‘movement’ with the purpose of ‘getting healthy and fit’ is not automatically synonymous with training to the limit.
Oftentimes, the physical exertion required to achieve greater health is much less than you’d think and, in many cases, it HAS to be – especially if you’re starting out with a body that’s bogged down by stress and/or illness.
Your body doesn’t judge the exercise you do (unlike your mind!) — it just responds to the stimulus it receives. And if the exercise stimulus you deliver is aligned with your body’s abilities, it will go where you want it to – willingly and rapidly – whether that exercise resembles a simple warm-up or the latest, greatest fat burning program.