The terms, exercise and training, are two separate concepts but often used interchangeably, and this isn’t correct. Exercise has always been in the list of recommendations of all health and fitness professionals alike. Just a cursory look at any medical organization’s website would show you exercise recommendations ranging from a mere75 mins up to 150 mins per week. This may include any physical activity that puts your heart to work or body to sweat.
Exercising offers myriad benefits, and we truly believe in those benefits… still, why do we keep falling off the radar? Why do our new year resolutions not get to see the second month of the new year? The answer lies within us… Humans, like most other species, don’t like to move unless necessary – because that would mean usage of our energy – our fuel. How many times do you take out your car and burn fuel with no purpose of reaching anywhere! Animals (including humans), just like vehicles, don’t like to move without a purpose, and exercise provides no purpose to our evolutionary brain. This is the reason why you have to force yourself to exercise, and adhering to it is a major problem. Do you think a lioness has to motivate itself to exercise 3 times a week? Hunger gives her the purpose to move.
Humans, unfortunately, don’t have to move to answer for hunger calls – we have Swiggy! So how do we maintain adherence to exercise? The answer is simple – Stop Exercising, and Start Training!
When you hear the word training, which category of people come to your mind? Athletes? Military personnel? Training, unlike exercise, has an end goal which is long term. Athletes and our military personnel when they train, they have these end goals in their mind; this is what gives them the purpose to keep going. Generally, people who go to gym for exercise have such goals as ‘burning calories’, ‘pumping arms’, sweating, heart rate elevation, etc. Essentially exercise today has plummeted to just being physically active so that either you look good or you don’t die of a cardiac arrest. When you have such goals, adherence becomes a problem. We think – “so what if I didn’t sweat today, I can do that tomorrow.”, “So what if I didn’t pump my biceps now, I can pump it in the evening.”; and if fear of death were to have any impact, there would be no smoker or drinker on this planet. This initiates the vicious circle leading to attrition.
But when you go to the gym for training with a goal of getting better with each session – I must run at least 100mtrs more than last time. I must do at least a rep more than last time, I must stretch myself at least a cm more than last time – this is what keeps you going, for now any session lost will be an opportunity lost to progress; now you have a Purpose To Train!
When athletes train, their goal is to keep getting better, and growing into better versions of themselves. Set long term targets, stay present and see yourself adhering effortlessly. Train like an athlete on the gym floor, as there is no bigger sport than real life for which we all need to be prepared.
Vivek Singh Rajput
Senior Faculty (Exercise Science)
K11 Academy of Fitness Sciences
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