It’s finally getting sunny and warm enough to start doing spring-worthy things outside, so I’m determined to put on my super-fly bike shorts and set off on a long bike ride. I was lying awake last night thinking about riding my bike and how much I enjoy it, when I had an epiphany of sorts. Succinctly, I realized that there are two types of exercise- fitness-based, and activity-based.
For me, fitness based exercises are those that I partake in for the pleasure of doing something intense or competitive. Things like running, weight lifting, circuit training, or, my most recent obsession, tabata. These exercises are gratifying because I’m pushing myself to new heights and proving that I’m physically capable. Because of the strident nature of fitness-based activities, they’re very mentally taxing, which helps me burn off a significant amount of excess neurosis. (I’ll admit it- I’m one of those people who’s not fully sane unless I workout a great deal, and even then it’s debatable)
Activity-based exercises (for me) are things like rock-climbing, downhill skiing, bike riding, and kayaking. Often after a long day of partaking in one of the aforementioned activities I’m surprised that I’m exhausted- I had too much fun for it to “count” as exercise. Rather than soothing me by turning my entire body in to Jell-O, as with fitness-based exercise, I feel invigorated and relaxed because I’ve been doing something I genuinely enjoy.
I guess the “take home” message from all of this is this- don’t pigeonhole yourself in to thinking that you need to be doing something really epic and intense for it to “count” as a workout. Moving your body is moving your body. (Though, obviously, different movements will produce different results.)
The next thing on my agenda- an 80’s themed rollerblading session. I’m thinking spandex and old Madonna…