Exercise or Physical Recreation?

27 Jan

Let’s get one thing straight: physical recreation is not exercise! Exercise is the application of measurable stimuli to decrease fat, increase muscle or improve performance.

Recreation is for fun.

Exercise is for creating change.

I have a couple of male clients in their 50s and I hear this from them all the time, “yep, got 2 rounds in so I exercised.” NO! Golf is not your exercise, it is a great form of recreation but you will not have an elevated heart rate (unless you’re 80+ or a recovering stroke patient or a terrible golfer!)

If you can smoke a cigarette while you are being active then your are not exercising. I argue physical recreation includes golf, doubles tennis, types of yoga, and snow angel making. Physical recreation will help burn more calories than just sitting but the other health benefits of exercise such as decreased risk of heart problems, diabetes, etc. do not come from physical recreation.

In kinesiology we talk about METS, measured units of energy. METs need to be elevated above a certain level for an activity to be defined as exercise. For simplification purposes I like to think I’m reaching a desirable MET if I’m sweating within the first 5 minutes of the activity. If I’m not sweating after 5 minutes then I’m performing physical recreation.

There’s a place for recreation but exercise should not be confused with it!

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2 Responses to “Exercise or Physical Recreation?”

  1. Ian January 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    An excellent point of distinction, I always wondered what METs were all about!

  2. Regio February 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Physical atiivcty should be fun and as adults we need to do everything within our power to get kids excited about and loving being active. You guys are doing great work and it's nice to the new and much hipper Participaction.

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