Sunday, 25 June 2017

Movement Vs Exercise

This isn't exercise, its movement. 
In the book Move your DNA, Katy Bowman makes the distinction between movement and exercise. The distinction is that an activity done for exercise is most often solely for the benefit of exercise, while movement may be the same movements, but done for a purpose other than its own sake. So for instance walking around the block to get your step count up for the day is exercise, it is an end unto itself. Walking down to the shop for milk is movement, sure you got your steps in, but that wasn’t the goal.

Often when I have gone for a short hike the point has been for exercise. Maybe I have added some weight to make it a ‘work out’ or maybe I am specifically training for an even longer hike. More recently I have been enjoying hiking for movement’s sake (and not just as an ad hock justification). I’ve been going out Saturday or Sunday morning for a moderate hike (2 hours or so) at a reasonable pace, but not fast, pace isn’t the point, I’m just moving comfortably. I’m going out as an opportunity to stretch my legs after a week in the office, to explore new places, get some sun, some time with my thoughts, and some time with the thoughts of others (podcasts).

Getting some sun.
I’ve been enjoying this time to just wander, and the benefits are more than just the movement alone. This makes it movement, not exercise. An even simpler example is my Saturday morning routine of getting up late and walking down to the local café for a coffee. I get to stretch my legs, wake up slowly and have a relaxing start to my weekend. The few thousand steps I clock up along the way aren’t even considered a bonus, they just are. The main point of the movement is got get my coffee, not the walk.

The point here is that we can move more if we change our view point. It’s not about exercising more; most don’t have the time or the energy for that. The point is look at what we do and add more movement. I could sit on the couch to listen to a podcast, or drive to get my coffee, but I can do so much more by adding some movement to the mix. It’s as simple and choosing to walk.

Now for the how. While the ideal might be to get out in nature, bare foot, getting a bunch of sun for a few hours its' often hard to find the time for this. Often I hear the suggestion to park far way, but I don’t really like this practice. Mainly I’m busy and tell myself I don’t have the time, plus I hate shopping so I want to get in and out as fast as I can. Instead I just look for the easiest park, not the closest. So often the easiest park is further from the door, but I get parked quicker, win-win. Another dead easy option is to take the stairs, instead of an escalator. It generally takes the same amount of time, and there’s less people parked around you another win-win. Another easy one for me is to walk to the furthest cafe from my desk at work (there are three places near me where I can get my 10am coffee). I get out of my chair for a 5 minute walk each way, but the point isn’t the walking the point is to get my coffee. There is also walking to pick up shopping, visit friends and family etc, but the smallest actions are the easiest, they take no extra time, only a change in mindset.

Do it for the views.

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