I’ve been exercising consistently again after moving back to Wisconsin. It’s just been exercise though—not training.

There’s a difference. Maybe it’s just a difference in my head, but it’s instructive to think of this difference when you’re planning you’re long term approach to life and body ownership.

Exercise is the long term approach to body ownership. Exercise is an acknowledgment of the body and the need to put it through its paces now and again. You’re doing a little something, consistently. It’s not going to build big muscles, but it will keep you lean and trim, when combined with sensible eating.

Training is something you do to elevate your body to another level for a specific reason. You might train hard to develop mental qualities like persistence and determination. You might train hard for a sport.

From an office worked perspective, we only need a consistent program of light exercise.

We’ll leave training to those who really need or want it. Athletes, weekend warriors, people with mental and emotional problems (hard exercise burns off mental and emotional problems like liquid nitrogen burns off a wart), and those people who crave the physical challenge.

So, for office workers, here are some exercise strategies:

  • Eat in accordance to what you expend. It’s kind of like spending in accordance to what you earn. With the body it’s a little more complicated because some people like to store fat, but if you’re watching what you eat you’re not going to get morbidly obese, that’s for sure.
  • Do a little bit of exercise each day. I like push ups, pull ups, and squats. I like kettlebell swings, too.
  • Do things that reverse the posture you spend the majority of your day in. Stand and arch rearward, pretending like you’re wrapping your back around a Swiss ball. Reach up with your arms and stretch your shoulders. Touch your toes. Balance on one foot.

None of these things are going to build big muscles. But what they do is help to use your body and keep it active.

The body has this uncanny unconscious ability to adapt to what you throw at it. If you do a lot of squats, you get good at squats. Your legs get bigger. You might be able to run a little better and jump a little higher.

That same principal that unconsciously builds the body when you do squats and other exercises works in reverse. If you don’t do anything, your body rewires itself to gradually remove your capacity for doing things in general. It’s just a protective mechanism. Your body doesn’t want to get injured so it puts a governor on its capabilities until you exercise or train to alter the limits of the governor.

The problem with the governor is that it’s a slippery slope. Each day, week, month, year, and decade of decreased activity supports the body’s limiting governor. Since we’re living a lot longer these days, it makes sense to stop the slippery slope so you can enjoy your older years a bit more.

P.S. The simple exercise I’m talking about doesn’t require agym membership or research in the latest methods in fitness—you just need to move. Consistently. Hop to it.