why exercise is difficult and physical activity is easy.

Here’s a refreshing idea – start with physical activity before graduating onto exercise.

If you are struggling with keeping to a schedule/habit of exercise we first need to identify what exercise really is – which is simply planned physical activity. Physical activity in itself is simply your body’s ability to meet the demands of your daily environment. If we’re struggling to get into the gym and exercise, we have to realise that we haven’t yet identified the physical exerts we do or don’t do everyday. Simply put, one reason we cannot maintain habitual exercise is because our current habits are physically too little or too much – the former is the reality for most people.

The majority of us are fortunate enough to be born with two arms and two legs. That means we can lift heavy objects, It means we can run, It means we can dance. That means we can move our bodies through space and time with very little resistance. Now, If weekly gym visits are too much, it doesn’t mean we can’t be conscious on emphasising simple things like walking and taking the stairs throughout our day. Remember it is your body’s ability to meet daily demands of your environment, the reality for most of us is, our day to day is simply too easy. We sit down and drive to work, to sit down and work at our desk to then sit down and drive back home, to sit down and watch TV. It’s about making tweaks to our habits to make physical activity more present in our routine.

Start to identify what your body goes through on a weekly basis, particularly in our occupations, that is to say there is a huge disparity in physical demands between a brick layer and an office administrator. Understand that even jobs that require a lot of standing for long periods of time demand components of fitness including endurance. Take a moment to think thoroughly about what physical requirements your daily work environment demands of you, such as strength, flexibility, balance, mobility, etc. Now that is physical activity. And if you’re doing that on a regular basis, that’s technically exercise, you’re just looking at it from a different perspective.

So, on the opposite end of the spectrum we have sitting down in an office doing very, very little, every single day, 5 days a week. If that is the case, we need to identify areas in our work life that can help us engage in physical activity first, and then we can move on to exercise. Here are a few incremental tweaks you can implement:

  • If your office is on the third floor, don’t take the elevator, take the stairs.
  • Park your car as far away from the office as you can.
  • Standing up from our desk every hour or so for a quick stretch.
  • Walk to the shops for lunch instead of the canteen.

Why are you driving to the gym, 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back, to go run on the treadmill when you can’t even walk to work? Because it’s too far away. Get up earlier and buy a bike then. Remember there’s always an excuse not to do something. Lets consider our current habits before creating new ones, we cannot hope to commit to exercise, if we cannot create consistency of physical activity on a habitual level.

The first step towards broadening our physical endeavours is asking what we can do, instead of what we should do – then it’s down to you.

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Clinical Exercise Scientist

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11 months ago

Great perspective, it’s much easier to transition into more intense movement when you’re conditioned to greater overall movement on a daily basis.

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