If i asked you if you moved today, you might say ‘not much’ if you haven’t “exercised”.
These things seem quite similar but “exercise is movement but not all movement is exercise.” as Katy Bowman says in her book “Move your DNA”.
Blinking, breathing, getting goosebumps, waving to someone, driving, breastfeeding, eating…. etc. are all considered movement. The human body is capable of moving in an incalculable number of ways, yet we have limited ourselves to very few of those ways.
So exercise must be one of the best ways to move right? The answer is sometimes. If you exercise, hurray for you! Our body needs movement to live, and most certainly needs it to live well. Of course, some exercises are quite repetitive and can sometimes lead to injury – including some yoga practices. Most instructors/personal trainers I have talked to agree that people don’t come to exercise classes or to the gym to change their movement patterns, they come and simply reinforce those (often dysfunctional) movement patterns. And even if you exercise for an hour a day, it can not compare to our ancestors who labored on farms or walked eight hours a day looking for food and who still rested more than we do. I have said this in class many times, we have not evolved to sit in chairs so much! I often see new yoga students struggle with stamina in the poses, then struggle with letting themselves relax at the end of class.
But I’m not saying to stop exercising!!! I’m saying whatever it is you like to do, mix it up and be very mindful as you move.
What I think is the more interesting question is, what if we could feel even better, get better rest, get better all around outcomes for our health and well being by adding in more movement rather than more exercise? What if we stacked more movement into our day? Can you walk to get some groceries? do it. Can you go for an extended hike in a local park? do it. Can you go to the playground and actually play (hanging on the bars, swinging, etc.) do it. Have to go downtown and hate parking? Walk to the train and get off early to your stop. Walk from the back of the parking lot when you park. Take the stairs, even if its eighth floor 🙂 There are so many ways to move even a little more.
You don’t need more exercise, you need more movement.