You probably read the first title of my post and thought, “aren’t activity and exercise the same?” YES, they both require some movement, however both have different mindsets. When you think of activity and exercise, what do you think of? Activities I think of are social, fun, minimal cost (sometimes), and something that interests you. Before, I thought of exercise as costly (gym membership), un-motivating, and usually done alone. NOW, I’m a HUGE advocate of exercise (I have my B.S in Exercise Science), and this mindset is not mine at all today, but it once was before I got into running.
In my opinion, I think our population is so forced to exercise, that the “activity” idea goes out the window. Exercise to most people is considered a chore, not fun, and requires a gym membership. Exercise should be done because we love our bodies and want to move, not because we hate how we look.
On the other hand, I know a lot of people who made the transition to becoming more active and have found an ACTIVITY that they love. Key word here is *activity.* What do you think about when you think of activity? I think of running (obviously :P), swimming, biking, rowing, rock climbing, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, group fitness class, walking. etc. All these have a few things that include movement (a component of exercise), being social, having fun, some cost, interesting, motivating, rewarding, the list goes on! Point here is that I love running as much as I do because I don’t see it as a chore, work, or something that has to be done in a gym (although treadmills exist for that reason). I love it because it CAN be social, as interesting as I want (races, challenges, volunteering), fun, requires minimal costs which are optional (gear, race entries), as well as EXERCISE that doesn’t feel mundane or forced. This post is not about trying to sell you on running, but to find an activity you enjoy that doesn’t feel like exercise. Gyms and indoor cardio equipment have a place, but they don’t last as long as a life long interest in an activity does.
With an activity you can get the benefits of exercise, the cardio and calorie burn, but for our out-of-shape society today its a great first place to start. From there you build an enjoyment of it, and then before you know you’ll adding to it! I tell all my clients if you want to start an exercise routine, pick an activity and go from there. It may take a few times to figure out what you like and don’t, which will more than likely take patience and time and a gym membership if that’s what you’re into, but its worth knowing in the end!
At the end of the day, I like to call this activity, whatever it is you choose, RECREATION (my minor) because that’s what it boils down to. This isn’t a guaranteed way to get fit fast, but this perspective will help jumpstart a new and continued fitness routine for years to come!