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  • Writer's pictureSam Trotta

Exercise // Thinker: Work Is Not Exercise

Exercise, in my view, is focused physical effort aimed at improving bodily function and / or the skill and coordination necessary to perform a particular task or set of tasks.

How's that for a definition? (I'm actually asking - feel free to leave feedback in the comments)

There are several other kinds of physical effort that get wrongly categorized as exercise. Among these is work. Labour, toil - anything where your body is used to physically complete tasks for the purpose of your employer or your household.

Physical work is not always awful and back-breaking. Sometimes, it is a great change of pace from the privileged doldrums of day-to-day Zoom meetings and the other safe, non-physical efforts made to make a living. A weekend of gardening, helping a friend with a weekend landscaping or home renovation project, or chopping wood at your rustic country home can be genuinely stimulating.

And, your current work, family and other schedules might be set so that this is the only kind of physical activity available to you (in your view, at least).

I'd like to remind you of a few things:

  1. Your view of these activities might change if they were your sole means of earning a living. Be grateful that they are luxuries rather than necessities.

  2. Your body might not respond to such work so positively were you in a position of having to do it for 2000 hours per year.

  3. If you were to become injured or simply lost the bodily capability to take such work on, the work would still be there, and someone would have to do it. And, if that someone was you when push came to proverbial shove, the work would not care one bit about your pain, dysfunction or inability to get the job done. It would persist, as work tends to do.

What would you do then, especially if it was the kind of work that you revered?

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