Have you ever noticed the more you look at something the more you “see?” Or the more you study or contemplate something the more you understand that something? I’ve been pondering exercise and movement for a few years now and I think I’m getting to the point where I am beginning to “see” what differentiates them, or at least I am getting to the point where I can articulate what I am seeing. I’m going to attempt that here. If you read this, you may want to buckle up. It’s a wild leap…

We were designed to move. We were not designed to exercise. Movement, carrying out our design, keeps us “healthy” and “strong.” Exercise is a set of movements we created in an effort to keep us “healthy” and “strong.” We were born complete, designed with health and strength in mind, if all is functioning properly. Needing only a few things to sustain us: air, water, food, and shelter. Exercise was born in lack, designed with sickness and weakness in mind, if you follow the purpose of it. 

Yep, I’m “out there.” But think about it. Why do people exercise? They either do it because they think they are weak, unfit, unhealthy, out of shape, skinny, fat, overweight, low self esteem, they feel bad (stiff, old, depressed, etc) or whatever. People exercise because they’ve attached a magical quality to it – it will solve the issue of whatever they feel they are lacking. Don’t get me wrong, some people actually “exercise” because they enjoy it -they do if for the sole purpose of enjoyment. But for those few people I would say they are simply moving or they are confusing moving with exercising. 

Back to the point…! Here’s the question to ponder: Why do people believe they need to exercise? Or, why do people feel weak, unfit, unhealthy, out of shape, depressed, skinny, fat, or whatever? Why are people unhealthy? What has caused all of these negative feelings and negative realities that are so common in our world? 

Is it lack of exercise? Is it because we are not going to the gym? Is it because we don’t understand strength training and periodization? Is it because we can’t stick to New Years resolutions? 

No. We aren’t weak or unhealthy because we don’t exercise. 

Exercise is a creation; a solution, for a symptom. It doesn’t address our real issue. Listen closely; you were not created to exercise. You were created to move. And that’s the real issue.

Your body knows how to be healthy and strong. Correction, your body only knows how to be healthy and strong. Strength is its design. The reason many of us don’t feel strong or aren’t strong, and the reason many of us feel we lack any of the things we hope exercise will give us is because many of us don’t honor our design. Think about this. If you were indeed made to move and moving was the “vehicle” intended to create your nervous system, nourish your brain, build your muscles, invigorate your fascia, and if movement was the bridge between your emotions, your thoughts, and your physical appearance and expression, what would happen if you did not move? 

What would happen if you did not do the thing intended to allow you to be the greatest version of yourself? How would your body be or remain strong if it didn’t carry out its design? How would your emotions expect to be enjoyed and managed if one of their greatest sources of input was neglected? How could we expect to be healthy in spirit, soul and body if we neglected the vehicle that connects them all together? Seriously, what would happen to us, what would our outcomes be, if we didn’t nourish our bodies by executing their design?

One of our greatest problems is that we have forgotten or neglected our design. We’ve forgotten to take walks, to get down on the floor and move for the joy of moving, to get outside and explore, to take time to play. Those are the things we were made to do. Even if you don’t see all the neurology and the mental and emotional connections to movement and your design, you can still look at your physical body and see this truth. We have far too many joints and muscles to spend most of our time idle and still. That alone should scream “Move!” 

My point is, movement is not exercise. It is life. It builds us. It nourishes us. It sustains us. Movement isn’t bound to magic numbers of reps and sets. It isn’t confined to machines or weights. Those things are all bandaids at worse and sports at best. Exercise if you want to express your movements in those ways but don’t exercise if you are doing it because you are looking to become “healthy” and “strong”. You are already those things, how could you not be? They are your design – at least they are in you, even if you don’t realize and reveal them.   

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