Exercise vs Moving

Can we talk workouts for a minute? As a wellness coach and personal trainer I often find myself with conflicting opinions. The coach in me wants everyone to just move more, exercise for enjoyment, and reassure that “something is better than nothing”. But every once and awhile the personal trainer mentality kicks in and I find myself wondering why we as individuals stick with the same workout routine day in and day out for months, or even YEARS!

You see, now-a-days, as a full-time Wellness Coach, I spend the majority of my time supporting individuals to make realistic lifestyle changes. Small changes that become habits (check out my previous blog post explaining all about coaching). Often, those habits include some form of exercise, and for that, I’m happy. As mentioned above, I truly believe that something is better than nothing. Taking the stairs versus the elevator, walking in to buy fast food versus the drive through, walking around the block versus sitting on the couch (you get the idea). Part of my job is to educate, and in this case try to educate that while something is still better than nothing, moving versus exercise are two totally different things.

So let’s start there…moving versus exercise. For those of us just beginning to venture into the world of living a little bit healthier, “moving” is a great start. This type of movement is what we would call “activities of daily living” (ADL’s for short). Walking to your car to get to work, carrying the laundry

basket up the stairs, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn or just making the extra effort to get up a little bit more from the couch. For those that own step trackers, a lot of the recommended 10,000 steps come from these sorts of activities. Considering we now have evidence to prove the adverse side-effects of too much sitting, I’m happy with anyone just moving a little bit more. But when differentiating between moving and exercise, it’s a pretty clear distinction.

I like to generally describe exercise as “intentional”. Putting on the appropriate gear with intention of working out for a specific period of time with an elevated heart rate or strengthening or lengthening specific muscle groups. When defining exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine helps by creating recommendations we should strive for each week in order to gain any of the multiple benefits of physical activity. This includes aiming for:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week via 30-60 minute moderate intensity exercise five days per week, or 20-30 minute vigorous activity 3 days per week.

  • Performing resistance training most/all major muscle groups two to three times per week.

Now that we have a better understanding between the two, let’s focus a bit more on the “exercise” piece. For those of you reading that already have a regular exercise routine, when’s the last time you really changed things up?

Lifted heavier weights, ran faster, increased the resistance on your elliptical, or really even set a goal in relation to your fitness? Our bodies are incredible machines, it will adapt, and it will adapt relatively quickly! And just as soon as our bodies have adapted, we begin to notice plateaus. No longer seeing results and wondering why? The easiest strategy to help overcome these exercise plateaus is using the F.I.T.T principle, which stands for frequency, intensity, type, and time.

By considering just one of these concepts, we can adjust and adapt our workout routines to move past the plateau and on to increased improvements. Instead of just two days at the gym, can you consider three? Can you increase the resistance on your spinning bike but still keep the same RPM’s? How about trying strength training if all you ever do is cardio? Maybe increase the amount time spent on your most challenging swim stroke? This simple principle keeps our workouts on its toes, which in return keeps the exerciser (you!) continuously benefiting both inside and out!

If what I’ve just described is you, stagnant and living in a constant state of ground hogs day exercise madness, check out a few of options we have to help:

  1. Hire a personal trainer – not only will they help get you out of your day-to-day routine, but they have a variety of tools and abundance of knowledge to prevent the plateau from returning.

  2. Try a DIFFERENT group exercise class. I know that there may be a comfort in routine or such great excuses as time, but as saying goes “great things never came from comfort zones”.

  3. For all you spinners out there, check out our newest Watt Workout & Ride workshop to focus on power for your rides versus just RPMs. Click here to register (space is limited).

  4. Come to a yoga class! We have a great Salute the Sun Beginners Yoga workshop coming up in May that will offer the confidence for any new yogi to attend a class! Click here to register.

  5. Meet with a wellness coach to discuss goals related to fitness and how you can change things up a bit! Packages and offerings here!

  6. Sign up for a road race – I hear the DAM run is quickly approaching on May 6th! Registration is here!

  7. Still not sold? Just connect with ANY of our fitness-loving staff, we like to practice what we preach that’s why we chose to work at the EdgarMay.

Let’s summarize, shall we? Move more, it’s better than nothing at all. If you’re already exercising, exercise harder, better, faster, stronger (thanks Kanye). Finally, if you’re still stuck, remember that we always have your back. Check out our programs, workshops, events, and offerings.

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