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If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say XYZ doesn’t “count” as a workout, I’d be able to retire to my future homestead.

You’ve read it here before, and you’re going to keep reading it today and into the future: IF YOU’RE MOVING, IT COUNTS!!

The Original ‘Workout’

Sure, I get there’s a difference between workouts and activity, but in the grand scheme of things, the whole point of working out is to replace the activity we aren’t getting from everyday life. So if you’re incorporating more activity into your everyday life, the need to workout becomes less.

For some reason (and I think I know the reason… more on that later) we’ve been conditioned to think basic activity doesn’t count toward our efforts to get healthy. 

Walking? Nope, doesn’t make me sweat enough.

Doing chores and yard work? Nope, doesn’t leave me sore enough.

See how silly that sounds?

When our distant ancestors, and even more recently – our grandparents – were living everyday life, it took a lot of effort to exist, just to survive. Life was their ‘workout’.

Food had to be harvested, gathered, or produced – EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Shelter had to be built from nothing. Clothes had to be made. The list goes on.

For the most part, those activities weren’t performed in rigorous 30 or 60 minute bouts that left them sore for three days. No! They were simply the lifestyle they led and it was a marathon kind of deal, not a sprint.

But when we started inventing things to make life easier, those active chores and survival skills became less of a necessity. And that’s when workouts to stay healthy entered the picture. It’s really only in recent life that we’re having to workout to maintain health.

Marketers Did Their Job

In that regard, kudos to modern day marketers who have made it seem as though simply living an active life isn’t enough. They’ve taken something that was previously unnecessary (workouts) and made them feel like the new norm.

And then they made an entire industry out of it – gyms, athletic wear, athleisure wear, equipment, group fitness classes, individualized workouts, personal trainers, diets and diet culture, etc.

While I’m giving them their rightful kudos, it’s also up to us to realize that we’ve subtly been brainwashed.

Between those great marketing messages and our love of sport (did you see last week’s post?) we’re under the impression that it has to suck in order to be effective. That if it’s not hard and excruciating, it must not count.

And that’s simply not true.

If You’re Moving, It Counts

There, I’ve said it again for the people in the back!

By incorporating more activity throughout your day in the form of habit stacks, the pomodoro method, and various other ways, you can eliminate the need to “workout” all together.

Imagine if you walked only 5 minutes out of every hour. In a 16 hour day, that’s 80 minutes of walking. And I’m guessing that’s more activity than you currently get every day (it is for me – it’s my 30 minutes that’s non-negotiable).

But 5 minutes of walking seems like it shouldn’t count, am I right?

I was previously doing ~30 push ups per week in the form of 3 sets of 10 in one workout per week. After incorporating a push-up habit stack, I now average 50 push ups PER DAY without even noticing.

This entire notion of having to devote hours at the gym is completely backwards.

We workout to stay healthy because our everyday life isn’t active enough. But if your everyday life IS active enough, you remove the need to workout.

Sure, you could want to do specific workouts for cardiovascular training or to increase strength, but don’t tell me that 50 push ups per day hasn’t made me stronger – it definitely has!

So if you’ve made it this far, I have one favor to ask/one challenge for you: when talking about exercise/movement, please don’t ever say “it doesn’t count” ever again! Remove that thought from your repertoire, don’t let it sneak up on you or get into your subconscious.

If you’re moving, it counts!