EXERCISE VS. RECREATION

Rhodo Rowing Torso

It is important to understand what is true exercise versus recreation. We can start with the definition of exercise.

“Exercise is a process whereby the body performs work of a demanding nature, in accordance with muscle and joint function, in a clinically-controlled environment, within the constraints of safety, meaningfully loading the muscular structures to inroad their strength levels to stimulate a growth mechanism within minimal time.” (Hutchins,1989)

Clinical Exercise employs the protocol that best represents and physically expresses the definition of exercise. Exercise vs. Recreation is the most important principle in exercise philosophy. It is also the most misunderstood application in the health and fitness industry. Many methods or types of physical activities today are dangerous recreation smartly packaged up and sold as exercise. In addition to this the medical community increasingly recommends physical activities confusing it with exercise.

We can better understand this through obesity as an example. According to the National Center for Health Statistics the rate of obesity in this country is approximately 36% of all adults.* In fact the rate of obesity is steadily growing, not decreasing. But why? Aren’t we more health conscious? Large grocery companies have made healthy options not only more accessible but in vogue. More and more restaurants and fast casual eateries are catching on too. McDonalds even offers salad. So if your diet consists of the proper nutrients and we rule out any medical conditions and you are still over weight we must turn to the other factor involved.

We must look into exercise. What is true exercise and what is recreation? If we refer back to the definition of exercise we can begin to understand the difference and start weeding out the recreational options. Some examples of recreation can include: swimming, jogging, cycling, tennis and Pilates. While people may reap physical benefits from these recreational activities and enjoy engaging in these activities it is not a logical means to achieve physical health. Especially when the person is not in good physical shape. Risk of injury will outweigh the proposed benefits. Also considering the dose-response relationship and the stimulus we are seeking, these physical activities may not produce the necessary muscular contractions responsible for the desired stimulus. Only properly prescribed strength training can ensure these meaningful contractions are taking place, resulting in a likelihood of optimal results. The fact of the matter is, if a physical activity is missing any one of the above mentioned components of the definition of exercise, then it is not exercise.

Some people tend to attribute their general health to their active lifestyle, but the correct line of thinking is that they are able to enjoy that active lifestyle because of their general health. A safe and efficient method of exercise based on bio-mechanical science in accordance with muscle and joint function should be used to maintain ultimate functional ability and physical health. In turn that health and ability can be used to enjoy one’s recreation and active lifestyle.

Clinical Exercise prescribes the necessary exercise which allows you to ski, run, enjoy golf, dance, play tennis and simply walk up the stairs. Our clients range from age 23 to 95. Some are here to overcome injury or recover from surgery while most clients are healthy, active individuals using therapeutic exercise to enhance athletic performance and maintain optimal performance.

Other documentation on this subject can be found on our ARTICLES page.

*The Definition of Exercise, Super Slow: The Ultimate Exercise Protocol 1989 by Ken Hutchins
*NCHS data chart