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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Sports are not Exercise Podcast!

 I kind of hate to rain on anyone’s parade, particularly those who believe in the benefits of exercise!  But the thing it this: exercise is something that improves one’s body, something that makes you better physically.  Makes you stronger, more flexible, and/or more enduring.  That is the whole point of it!

But we have been misled about this most important point- nowadays, any slightly demanding activity is put down as exercise.  Slowly jogging, or walking.  (Not exercise, not really- too undemanding and short of stimulating a physical improvement of any sort.)  And of course, things like: 








Olympic weight lifting


I hope you get it by now.  Sports are recreation, not exercise per se.  

Although some activities (I.e. Sports) are physically demanding, some more than others, they do not qualify as true exercise.  Exercise is a means of attaining greater physical health and ability.  Lifting weights, or using body weight resistance to improve muscular strength and function, and doing it in a manner that improves heart and lung cardio function at the same time- this is true exercise!

Playing any sport at all- this is recreation. The point is to have fun, not to improve your health and fitness.  Doing real exercise (Perfectly Paleo Exercise), will make you stronger and more flexible and enduring, and this will definitely help your sports performance!  

But merely to play in your sport, while it will make you better in the skills necessary to that sport- it will probably not make you stronger, or more flexible, or more cardio vascularly fit.  It will probably only make you prone to injuries…

Pro football players, for instance: they train in the weight room, primarily, in the off-season to “get in shape” for the playing season.  Then, as they ‘play’, they get injured, or not, but they get less fit as the season wears on, they become de-condishened while they are playing their little hearts out.  Less fit, as they do their sport!

Again: sports are not exercise.  Exercise is exercise, and it is for one purpose only:  to improve bodily function and performance.  

It is not meant to be fun!  Exercise is a task, to achieve an end; to make you stronger, faster, and more flexible and resilient.  Like brushing your teeth is meant to improve your dental hygiene.  Not fun, but very useful!

Long distance running will not make you ‘healthy’ or fit.  It will wear you out, destroy your joints, and make you markedly less healthy and fit.  Playing tennis will not make you more healthy, strong and fit- it will injure you eventually, and while it may be fun, it is not about health and fitness, not at all!

The same is true of any other sport.  The sport itself, whether water polo, ballroom dancing, power lifting, synchronized swimming, or handball…

They might be fun, and demanding- but they do not qualify as true exercise, meaning something that makes you more fit.  They are just too pleasant, and too easy.

True exercise is hard, uncomfortable, safe, and brief!  

In contrast, most sports are relatively easy (hence enjoyable), comfortable, often unsafe, and long in duration.  This makes sense: sports are for fun.  True exercise is work.  Work for improvement!  Totally different goals…

To improve your body- have a schedule exercises to accomplish.  Concentrate on them, and do them to near failure- they should be hard.  Calisthenics like pushups and straight legged sit ups are wonderful, and squats and lunges are as well.  Intersperse stretching on the floor, and self-resisted curls and isometrics (See my book Perfectly Paleo Exercise if you need more guidance).

For me, the basic default is Virtual Resistance Exercise, where the resistance is generated within the muscles themselves, and this covers the entire body.  If you follow this basic prescription, then you will greatly improve your body composition and abilities, and make you much ore adept at any sport to which you aspire!

Just remember one more thing: if you add resistance to, say, a tennis or golf stroke, thinking you will ’strengthen’ that movement by making it harder-

It does not work that way!

If you make a sports movement harder than it is in real life, it just makes you far less efficient in doing it in the real world!!

This is an important distinction.  A sports move needs to be a ‘real world’ movement.  No resistance is ideal!  

Exercise, as we have explored, is very different.  In sport, the easier and more efficiently you can do things, the better.  

In exercise- the harder is better!  

Strangely, in life, the hard path is often the best.

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