What is meant by “working out?” Working out, by definition, means that you are expending your own energy to use your body in a certain way. This could be by running, swimming, lifting weights, climbing, kayaking, bodyweight exercises, whatever. So in other words, you use YOUR energy to perform work. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a wide variety of health benefits both physical and emotional that come with exercise. It pumps your blood, can raise metabolism, increases oxygen (especially when outdoors), improve mood, and improve energy levels with time. So how does this happen? The exercise helps us to become more efficient machines and helps keep our machine running clean. What is not good to do is to “overtrain.” This happens a lot today as people are “trying” to lose weight or “get in shape.” Think of the endless hours of cardio on treadmills and stationary bikes, the meathead forcing himself to lift those weights everyday. Sometimes these people do this until way past exhaustion. And a lot of them do it with low levels of nutrition to counter all of this stress on the body. I know because i was one of these people. Is running 26 miles straight on a regular basis really good for us? Is bodybuilding using unnatural supplements and stimulants that give the appearance of energy really the right way to go? And is this an unnatural drive caused by deep insecurities in people? Now, i don’t have any problem with wanting to be in shape or looking fit. I just think we need to remember that there is a much, much easier way to do it.
1. Put your energy into nutrition, sleeping, breathing right, getting sun exposure before focusing on exercise
2. Put together a “balanced” exercise program that combines strength, stretching, some cardio. This does not need to be overdone. Most of us are not olympic athletes. Take your bike for a spin. Take a leisurely jog or fast paced walk. Do some bodyweight exercises, yoga, whatever you like doing.
3. Debate adding in “working in” exercises. These are slow-moving exercises that actually BUILD your own energy instead of spending it. These could include things such as tai-chi, qigong, meditation practices, deep breathing, etc. These will greatly facilitate your recovery from exercise.
4. If you don’t feel like exercising, or can’t do more than you did last time, don’t do it. We are badgered that exercise is always the correct course of action. This is not the case, especially with today’s lack of quality building materials (foods).
Moreover, exercise should be something that you ENJOY doing. Not something you force yourself into every day. Think of ways to incorporate it into your life to where it doesn’t feel like “working out.” Activities like hiking, kayaking, biking, walking with a friend, etc. So stop worrying so much about who can run longer or lift more at the gym. You may realize that you were doing it for a superficial reason anyway. Questions let me know.