“Exercise” isn’t a thing. This idea that in order to be healthy you need to carve out twenty or thirty or forty minutes of mindless choreography to check off the box of exercise is moronic.
In fact, I can’t imagine why anyone would exercise. When I think of exercise, I think of a weird dedicated time to raise your heart rate, do funny routines, and be able to answer the question, “Did you exercise today?” But, not much else. It feels detached, uninvolved, and odd. I’ll never be motivated enough, bored enough, or have enough free time to do that.
When doctors, the lady at the checkout at the grocery store, and your family at the dinner table say, “Well, exercising regularly..blah blah blah” they are talking about the ridiculousness I’m referring to. It’s this worldview that makes things like this and even this exist. I see no opportunity for a sustainable life of health and fitness in going to a hip hop fitness class that is neither actual hip hop dance instruction nor fitness, for example. I see the same holes in other made up pursuits that we call “exercise.”
Don’t like lifting weights? Learn ballet. Real ballet. Don’t like group classes? Take on triathlon. Real triathlon. The accountability and purpose of a tangible pursuit will provide opportunities for longevity and gains beyond any fun, novelty, or comfort provided elsewhere.
I’m not even saying that your need super esoteric reasons for training. In fact, folks with the esoteric reasons for training don’t need my help. It’s the folks that think that you can just sacrifice one of the twenty-four hours you have in a day to dance around in some step class for the rest of your life that I’m worried about. Who wouldn’t quit that? I would.
If I could devote that same hour to acquiring skills, capacities, etc, I’d be much more likely to pursue it further. I can get behind the idea of training to get faster. I do understand taking action to get stronger, or more flexible, too. That makes sense to me. I get training to move better, get a pull up, learn a new dance routine, earn a new martial arts belt, or relieve pain. But, just exercise? That’s ridiculous.
In fact, the cheese-ball version of exercise I’m talking about is only better than doing nothing at all. Of course, dedicated training to a purpose easily satisfies the basic essence of exercise, but with the added tangible benefits of cognitive and physically relevant capacities, too. To me, that is worth doing.
Furthermore, this task oriented approach not only holds the participant accountable, but the methods accountable, too. Without an purpose driven result anything can pass as exercise. With a purpose driven pursuit, the methods used are always up for critique, evolution, and refinement. Put differently, it makes possible the idea that there is “a better way.”