Activity vs. Exercise
Can you be healthy and not regularly exercise? To me this goes along with can you be healthy and overweight? The answer is not really.
Health is a continuum. One end we have Optimal Health when everything is operating as smoothly as possible, we are eating right, getting in plenty of activity sleeping enough, in great relationships, laughing a lot. On the other end of the spectrum, we have fast food, stress, toxic relationships, inactivity and lack of sleep.
Please note I used the word activity not exercise. We do not all need to be gym rats if we are truly active in our daily lives, however very few are.
A few years ago when step trackers first came out, I got one. I was convinced I was super active during the day. The pamphlet in the FitBIt box recommended 10,000 steps as a minimum. At the end of day one, I checked and I had 2100!! I was horrified.
This had been a regular old day where I took my kids to school, went to the gym (for some reason a Spin Class wasn’t registered as steps) the grocery store, picked them back up, we went to the various practices that suburban kids do on a regular suburban afternoon in Suburbia. Well, there isn’t a ton of opportunities to walk in Suburbia, unless I did laps in my house, which I had been known to do when I wanted to hit a certain number.
The FitBit and I travelled together a few times to Disneyworld, where I would easily clock in 20,000 steps. My lifetime record is 32,000 which wasn’t actually a very Magical day at all, but that is so a story for another day.
I was at a week long surf clinic a few weeks ago in Costa Rica, I was not working out beforehand everyday. I was getting enough activity in the 4 hour surf sessions to not have to try and fit in a workout
Here is the thing: on most days, I am not walking 20,000 steps or surfing for 4 hours at a stretch in my regular life. I am walking 2000ish unless I went and found activity in the form of exercise.
If I was still living in Manhattan, it would have been very easy to hit my step goals, not so much in the land of the SUVs and parking lots. Knowing this, exercise is part of my routine. I get up each morning, get ready, take the kids to school and head to a class. I don’t even think about NOT doing it.
In the same way I wouldn’t not brush my teeth in the morning, I wouldn’t not exercise on a weekday morning (I do take a day off from exercise a week, usually Saturdays). It doesn’t ever occur to me.
If you aren’t one for exercising but not sure where to start,
1) Do what you like, initially. I do not like to cardio kick box or Zumba. It is fine if you do, but if you found a type of exercise you like don’t feel you have to switch because “everyone” else is now doing something trendier. Do what you enjoy, you might make some new friends at Water Aerobics at the local Y, who knows?
2) Schedule it. Make It a priority in your day. Don’t wait for the time to find you, it won’t. The earlier in the day you do it the better, and then you do not have to worry about it anymore. Also, if you are half asleep when you are exercising, you can not really remember it anyway.
3) Look for other types of activities. Take up Surfing or Golf. You are never too old to try something new, so why not? Now, living in Suburban NYC doesn’t make Surfing super convenient most of the year, but I make it work.
Ideally, I would have started playing tennis as there are tons indoor courts in the Winter and outdoor in the Summer. Maybe next year?
As long as you find something you really like you can not go wrong!