What is the difference between exercise and movement?
Let me start off by saying we are very blessed, and should be extremely thankful for the ease of life modern technology and civilisation has brought us! Throughout history, our ancestors have had to actively work to attain their food sources, water, and other basic life supporting things, such as shelter creation and the continuous improvement required when building.
The life of hunter gathering people was tough, most of their day would be spent moving in one way or another. It could be to walk to the nearest river to collect their water, climbing trees to navigate the tough terrain, or getting fresh bird eggs from a nest. Imagine the struggle of dragging, pulling, and carrying materials to make your family safe from predators or the weather. Go watch discovery channel about tribes that are still living the same way today as our ancestors were a millennia ago and look at their bodies. There is never really a chunky or obese hunter gatherer; their bodies are normally lean, with muscle definition all over. No muscles are overly excessive, because this is inefficient for living off the land.
These people would live extremely active lifestyles. Unfortunately, this is something that many of us in this era have lost. Mostly due to innovation that makes it not necessary to move much. As I previously said, we are blessed that we can order our food online, that our house otherwise known as our shelter is extremely sturdy and warm! The importance of moving is so underrated, yet we hear it on TV saying we will get fat of we don't eat this new yogurt, or get old if we don't use a cream. We're constantly getting bombarded by advertising and marketing trying to sexualise all products or belittle our self-esteem, by making us think the only thing that will help us feel good is purchasing their product.
There is no slim pill that truly works, what works, is what has always worked. Movement/exercise and having decent nutrition.
Our brain and body evolved over millions of years, one big contributing factor to our excelled evolution was our ability to move, it allowed us to experience different environments, thus adding new stresses or demands on the body. We evolved with movement, with survival as priority. Obesity is on the rise more than ever, and more than ever it is time to burn some calories. Exercise is something we have created as our societies developed, because of the necessity to move shrunk, and as a consequence we grew!
Our weight collectively has exponentially grown over the years, it is truly saddening to see! When humans are living a more healthy lifestyle they can do so many incredible things, that unfortunately just aren't possible if you live a more sedentary lifestyle! Our species truly are amazing and it is an absolute atrocity to disallow yourself to feel the glory that comes with performing awesome feats. You may enjoy pole dancing, football, ballet, weight lifting, jogging, badminton or any of the other thousands of options available to you, the goal is to have fun whilst being active!
You and I are capable of performing beautiful and awe inspiring feats of biomechanical art, otherwise known as movement, yet few do. I like the quote from Les Brown were he says: "All I want you to do when you look at your dream, just say to yourself every day: it's possible. Just say that every day to yourself: it is possible. What does that do? It begins to change your beliefs system - the way in which we orientate is a manifestation of what we believe is possible for us." The “how” might scare you, the task at hand may be daunting, it is a process of progress, without the will to want to change, grow and develop we will never excel. By saying "it is possible" we allow ourselves to first be a beginner, the acceptance that we are fundamentally flawed, but with time and practice we can and will get better!
Our goal here at Reshape Infinity Fitness (RIF) is to inspire you to choose a life filled with passion and movement! Movement is something that humans have always done, our modern approach to exercising is very effective at building a strong body. A more natural approach of movement is something to consider, we want to show you that training in a gym isn't the only way to train our muscles!
Many people who are interested in fitness in this day and age attend a gym and use the "split" model, this is where you split your week's workouts up into muscle groups e.g. legs on Monday, upper body on Tuesday, rest day on Wednesday, cardio on Thursday e.c.t. Some even separate this further and go for a "pull day" and "push day".
There are many ways to get stronger and this is just one of them! The reason this method is effective is because twice or so a week the muscle group is getting truly worked and fatigued. Many people "train to failure" this is when your muscles are completely depleted of energy. This method is good at building mass, otherwise known as size or hypertrophy, which is great if that is your goal. I believe that the best strategy to stay fit depends on your goals!
Anyone who trains knows the dreaded pain the day after a "leg day" where walking is more like a slow dreaded waddle, where stairs are your nemesis, where every movement requires a sigh just to get you through it. Even getting out of bed is challenging! This pain is also known as DOMS (delayed onset muscular soreness). It is when your body is in the process of recovery.
The way exercise works is the load or stimulus you put on the body creates micro tears in the fibres of the target muscle group. This takes a few days to heal, dependant on the toughness of the workout. These small tears in the muscle get covered by protein that we have ingested through our food choices, this heals the affected area, over time this process increases the size, strength and density of the muscle. Building muscle is "a process of progress", no matter what method you use, consistency is key!
To get stronger or fitter our body has to adapt over time. It takes time to gain fat, no one got overweight overnight. Equally it takes time to put on muscle, be patient. In the morning the light of day will eventually reach your eye if you look long enough to let the sun pass the horizon, just because it hasn't fully risen yet doesn't mean that the sun will not rise! The split method above can sometimes be classed as over doing it, over training the muscles can actually also hinder our progress, it is important to make incremental improvements. To allow our body the correct time to develop.
In a world where you have to hunt or gather your own food, were big predators could be hunting you, it is not acceptable or appropriate to have such severe pain from training. If a large cat or bear were hunting you, I’m sure you wouldn't want the dreaded DOMS from leg day making running away near impossible. The expression "no pain no gain" is not necessarily true, by putting the body under adequate tension, physical stress or load can be adequate if met with consistency.
The term no pain no gain has probably injured more beginners than anything else in fitness has. A better quote to add to the mainstream would be: "adequate pain adequate gain" The definition of adequate is: satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity. The key word that stands out to me is quality!
More is not always better, over training can cause injuries that take a long time to heal, months, sometimes even years. When beginning your fitness journey ensure you listen to your bodies feedback, and take the necessary time to progress. Modern exercise can be a fantastic way to help you build your body. However, it is not the only way. Unlike the new approach, the natural method (aka movement practice) doesn't focus on hypertrophy, and unlike this method the whole body builds relatively equally, no muscle group is completely diminished of it's power. Also, the body looks in proportion unlike that of an extreme body builder.
Don't get me wrong, you won't just be lean with a natural movement practice, you can also get bigger muscles.
"Calisthenics" is a new method of natural movement, or a bodyweight exercise. Routines in this discipline focuses on gaining strength through doing movements, poses, and timed holds (otherwise known as isometric contractions), that can be really challenging, primarily with just the resistance of your own bodyweight and gravity.
The benefit of having a movement practice focused lifestyle is that you open yourself up to many interesting hobbies. With movement we could include walking, 100m sprint, skipping, dancing, rock climbing, parkour/free running, ice hockey, skating, BMXing and the list could go on much further.
Movement is about expression, about fun, we may count the reps we do, but they're not the only thing we count on.
Gymnastics is extremely fun, but a hell of a workout. It takes strength, balance, hand eye co-ordination, an awareness of our own bodily presence and also an extreme amount of self-confidence and control. I promise that I could take any weight lifter out for a day of movement practice and they would come home very sore, despite the strength they have built through “modern exercise”.
Strength is often relative to the sport, it can occasionally cross over borders or boundaries between disciplines, but is usually more locally praised. For example, a strong and capable body builder will certainly be able to do incredible feats such as a heavy weighted deadlift, bench press or squats, all impressive! Put the same person against a professional rock climber, who can do such feats as hang upside-down for 3 minutes on a wall, leaping vertically 8 foot between two rock climbing holds, or scale solely with their arms (also known as "campusing"), and the weight lifter would certainly struggle.
Both of the athletes can be classed as strong in their own discipline, and yes some attributes of their acquired strength will transfer over, if you get either athlete to try the others sport they would defiantly struggle to some degree. As the body gets use to the stress we frequently put upon it. You can train your full body without the use of weights, all you need to develop your muscles is stimulus. As long as there is sufficient stress put on the body, that creates micro tears in the muscle, then over time your body will adapt.
The last statement is the most crucial part. Over time!
Consistently living an active lifestyle over a prolonged period of time is when you see true results! The type doesn't matter, what matters most is that you enjoy what you do! Exploring options gives us the ability to decipher what is right for us as an individual. Just because a certain method worked for someone else doesn't mean it will give you the same feeling or results. Our message to you is this, discover what excites you and follow it until it leads you to interesting places, learn from your experience and loses, have an open mind, as we never know what we will like until we try it!
To conclude, exercise as we described above, is targeting individual muscle groups. This isolation is brilliant at building strength, size, and sport specific skills. Whereas movement practice, or living an active lifestyle, consists of a more holistic approach to wellness. Our bodies will become more supple, with greater balance, while still giving us our desired muscle development. For us at RIF, the biggest difference between the two is the diversity which movement practice allows. All exercise is movement, but remember, not all movement is “exercise”.
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Strength and honour until the next time we meet my friends!