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GOLDENRODFARM SparkPoints: (345,196)
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7/7/14 7:01 A

There seems to be a fine line between exercise and activity, I have been told that farm work is not exercise, but when I am on the farm work part of my schedule I don't do any of what some of you call "intentional exercise". The nature of farm work is that any two weeks are never the same, last week was a wild week trying to finish winter damage repair to my 12 pastures, that included a lot of tromping over rough hilly land picking up wire and rejoining, putting in new insulators and replacing 6' posts with a 30 lb sledge hammer, also two intensive days were spent weed whacking under all these fences to get rid of waist high or higher grass that dampened the electricity. Most of this activity gets your heart rate up unless you are dawdling along at a slow pace, which would never get the task done, Each day was registered between 17 K to 23 K paces on my FitBit. Like wise the task of doing chores is also a face paced ever changing hour or two of feeding, lugging around 5 gallon pails of grain or water, putting away 50 lb sacks of grain, throwing down hay, trimming sheep or horse hooves, spring shearing of sheep, helping with birthing which can be a extremely active time if there is a stuck calf or lamb, I run back and forth from one side of the barn to the other doing additional chores while animals feed, the only part that may be a little slow is collecting eggs but that is only minutes as the 42 nests have a back door that drops down and you just gather them. The cows are released one at a time and I take the time to follow them out the door so they don't get in trouble, then race back and get the next one, this prevents a pile up some where or cows jumping on each other when in heat. Then some days I breed cows by AI or help a neighbor by breeding cows, last week I went up and did 7 at a neighbors, I usually help cutting them out and driving them in the chute, then get my stuff and do the AI thing, which can be kind of active, but I need to take the fitbit off during this so I never record it, and then the cow needs to be let loose and taken back. Then of course all winter long is the cleaning of the barn, a fast paced forking of manure in a wheel barrow and taking it out the door to the manure pile ramp, dumping and coming back, if it is real cold the door needs to be shut each time, this usually is done for a couple of hours 2 or 3 times a week, cows do a lot of pooping and it is heavy work. Then of course there is plowing snow, I do it in my open tractor in way below 0 weather, or haying, throwing hay off the wagon, putting it on the conveyor, stacking it upstairs in the hay mow, usually we try to get wagons emptied in about 20 minutes, so that is 150-200 40-60 lb bales of hay moved through each task and we switch around tasks for each wagon it is an exhausting week.
And the above is just a few highlights of owning and working a farm by yourself. Of course I also have a Job that I go to 3 nights a week, and those nights are much slower then my farm part of my lift, usually I log 10 K to 14 K steps on this part of my week, and time is very tight, as I work 12.5 hours, and drive an hour each way, then do chores an hour each morning and night, then usually it takes an hour each in the morning and at night to prepare a meal and eat it and make up healthy lunches to take with me, leaving only about 6 hours to sleep if I fall aseep right away.

You might wonder why with all the activity I gained weight, I have never been an overweight person for most of my life, but after my husband passed away the whole preparing and eating alone thing led to a lot of bad habits over several years, then going to work nights and eating to stay awake at work or on the drive home sort of caught up with me. The extreme lack of time while working long shifts led to something I have never done in my life, I stopped making fresh food and resorted to a lot of pre-made stuff from the store freezer section. I kind of woke up a few months ago and came to the realization that this was not doing me any good and neither was the 60 or so lbs I gained making it harder to work on the farm and went back to eating healthy foods from the farm, it takes a little more time but I have lost 33 lbs so far and feel much better and it is easier to get all the heavy work done,

TINIERTINA Posts: 5,096
7/4/14 7:52 P

Yup, there is a third way in to this dilemma. The concept of "active pastime".

I came back to practicing yoga fusion again (more accurately termed "movement with breath awareness"). Dance workouts made me strong enough to handle it in my condition, without feeling sore for nearly a day and a half afterward ... which is my preferred line of attack. I don't want "exercise" if by that it has to mean "killer", across the board ... with or without the Nietzschean notion of continuous improvement to the ideal ...

A brief classical pilates module, created by me, was the finishing touch on this practice.

Rediscovering something other than "exercise" (as the King of Activity) does not take away from the benefits of exercise. It seems to measurably work synergistically with exercise. But it does not quite become Activity, unless you are by definition, active. I am not.

CSROBERTSON621 SparkPoints: (202,381)
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7/4/14 7:35 P

I think both are important. Workouts are needed to challenge and build fitness, but activity keeps the engine burning. It also just makes me feel better to move around rather than sit still all of the time. I wish my job allowed more movement, but I build it in where I can.

6/29/14 2:47 A

I had this conversation with myself just the the other day. Either way, the edicts of calorie burn are going to be realized, so praise yourself either way.

IMREITE SparkPoints: (410,039)
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6/28/14 1:30 A

I love my exercise but i dont always work as intensly as i should. when i am done with my workout, i tend to sit on my butt to much, and then i normally end up oversnacking.

we were made to be active so as long as we are moving our bodies and able to do what we need to our bodies should stay in good condition,

GRIZ1GIRL SparkPoints: (194,576)
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6/27/14 12:59 P

When I thought I was "active" I was just kidding myself...I wasn't "active" enough to call it a workout or get healthy lab results at my annual checkup.

I workout (yes, the dreaded "work out") EVERY SINGLE MORNING--7 days a week! I LOVE IT! It's my daily habit for good health--like brushing my teeth every day. I just do it.

And thanks to that daily exercise (gotta love that treadmill!)...I have super-low blood pressure, a ridiculously-low resting heart rate, low cholesterol, low triglycerides, and a healthy blood sugar level. Whew! Thank goodness!

I gladly call it exercise & working out--because it works. 'Nuff said. ;) :)

2BDYNAMIC SparkPoints: (321,230)
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6/26/14 12:43 P

Hi Sparkies-
Today I wrote a tribute to Chris Downey; Sparks guy. "He Sparked a Nation."
This is not just my blog per se' ......But YOURS too as you add any comments on how Sparks has changed your life. I think this is a nice way to truly give back to him! ......... Invitation open to all spark members! "He Sparked a Nation"

In this blog, there is mention as to Chris encouraging members to find fun as children do rather than calling it "working out" which can be tedious. Hope you can add your thanks to Chris in this tribute ........ emoticon

LIZABET13 SparkPoints: (14,890)
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Posts: 478
6/26/14 9:31 A

I like my exercise to be intentional. At first it was getting off the couch and walking a few blocks. As my fitness level increased my blocks became miles.

HIMELISSA2007 Posts: 2,124
6/25/14 11:08 P

I think exercise is consistent when you raise your heartrate to a certain level and increase aerobic activity to the benefit of circulation and creating a more fit body to sustain any level of activity. I think?

BAPSANN1 SparkPoints: (804)
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6/23/14 9:51 A

I think you get there when you make it a habit or when you stop exercising and just call it exercise when you walk from your car.

IMLOCOLINDA Posts: 19,544
6/20/14 1:45 A

I think of all the activities where I am moving, bending, lifting, walking as exercise and the swimming, water aerobics, dancing and 5K's as fun so don't ask me!!

ZRIE014 Posts: 60,339
6/20/14 1:07 A

when you stop doing it for the funny,

SLYSAM SparkPoints: (43,184)
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6/19/14 5:27 P

Oh, it looks like there are more than one Amish activity study. The one I first read was Canadian Amish several years ago. It looks like there are others that found similar.

SLYSAM SparkPoints: (43,184)
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6/19/14 5:24 P

I distinguish between exercise and activity and think both are important depending on goals. To me, exercise is intentional activity that is designed to improve some area of fitness and is challenging to my body (it can be aerobic exercise, strength exercise, flexibility exercise, etc). It is usually in addition to my normal activity. "Normal activity" is usually comfortable as I've been doing it enough that my body is conditioned for it. What I consider normal activity (for me): walking (unless hiking in hills), social or recreational dancing, golf, housework, gardening, carrying groceries, work duties. Anything that isn't sedentary but isn't challenging enough to improve my current fitness. For someone who commutes to work by bicycle, their twice a day cycle is activity (after they have been doing it a while), chances are they are not arriving to work dripping with sweat every day. The same activity can be exercise if they push themselves more (i.e. not worried about stinking at work so they really go for it). The line is a little gray and varies by the person.

I track both.. I wear an activity tracker (Fitbit) to help prompt me to keep my activity up and I log my intentional exercise. Sometimes I do more activity and less exercise and I think that is okay if I keep my activity up. I don't find that my fitness improves with "activity" though. I keep whatever level of aerobic, strength and flexibility conditioning I need to do my normal "activities" but it doesn't improve. I think some people can be very healthy with just a lot of moderate activity. The Amish are an extreme example, google "Amish activity study". There was a study because apparently Canadian Amish (traditional Amish they specified) were the least likely to be overweight despite eating fruit pies daily and saturated fats, etc. The researchers found some that were willing to wear activity trackers for a period of time and apparently the males averaged something like 20,000 steps a day and the females 15,000. I don't think a movement based activity tracker would do a good job tracking some of their activity i.e. plowing a field--so I think in real terms this is a conservative estimate of their activity. I am sure they are healthy without intentional exercise, but many people with a more modern lifestyle need to make an effort to keep from being sedentary. So for a sedentary person, "activity" is sometimes exercise at least at first.

Sometimes daily activity can be vigorous. When I lived in a city and took a bus I would sometimes need to sprint for the bus and would briefly be much more breathless than during a vigorous aerobic workout (well sprinting is anaerobic), similar climbing multiple flights of stairs, moving heavy furniture, etc. I don't have a job requiring vigorous "activity" and they usually don't happen enough to improve my fitness. But my exercise makes vigorous activity easier and more pleasant. I don't count it as anything different than other activity, but if I am sore/fatigued from vigorous activity, I give myself permission not to exercise. I don't see an issue with logging it, necessarily, but it is just really hard to quantify objectively.

Edited by: SLYSAM at: 6/19/2014 (17:25)
SPIFF37 SparkPoints: (52,137)
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6/19/14 2:33 P

I'm getting back into my usual walking routine after a several month hiatus. I used to walk 4 miles every morning before work. When starting back up I tried just walking 2 miles in the morning before work and walking the additional 2 miles during my lunch/breaks to make my goal of 4 miles for the day. This morning I had time to walk all 4 before I went to work. I checked my GPS afterwards and found I was MUCH faster when I walked them all at once (by about 2-3 minutes per mile). Not only that, I FELT so much better than when I just walk 1 or 2 miles at a time. And sustaining a faster pace for longer has to be better for my heart.


In my family, we substitute the word "activity," for "putzing." We all used to joke about how my grandpa putzes around so much, always tinkering with something instead of sitting down for a while to visit. Well, he's 96 now! I truly believe it's due to his "putzing," and love for leafy greens (we also call him Rabbit.) Obviously our good-natured teasing indicated we didn't share the same characteristics. My grandma died in her mid-70's and the rest of us are overweight.

So which is better? I tend to think my grandpa's way of doing things is the best way! For those of us not naturally inclined to love vegetables and putzing, we require devoted exercise time and diet guidelines to follow.

Your body will tell you if you're doing things right.

ENO1986 Posts: 20
6/19/14 1:37 P

I would say about 20-30 days that's when most things becomes a habit, but the key is being consistent.

LMCNAIR3 SparkPoints: (11,419)
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6/19/14 1:34 P

I also walk to stores such as the grocery and bank during the day as well as I go for a short walk during lunch to get outside if I don't need to do an errand while at work. I count the steps on my tracker for steps but I don't consider this to be exercise. But I have a scheduled time for exercise at the end of the day for my workout.

IBSILON12 SparkPoints: (917)
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6/19/14 2:25 A

I guess exercise becomes 'activity' when you don't think of it as exercise. Your body doesn't know the difference - but if you change from an activity that uses the same group of muscles every day to one that uses different ones (e.g. going from walking to running, or cycling), you'll feel it because you're exercising muscles you wouldn't normally use in that way. You'll also probably burn a bit more energy, because the 'unused' muscles won't be very efficient.

As I recently put on another post, I seriously underestimated how much 'activity' I was doing (I called it 'incidental exercise'!) and couldn't figure out why I could eat so much compared with recommendations and still lose weight (and faster that I 'should' have). I thought it might have been something to do with being a muscular build (think 'chunky' rather than 'flabby'!), but on closer inspection all the 'activity' I do during the day actually burns quite a lot of energy.

The other thing is, with 'activity', this is often stuff you can't just 'skip' if you're not in the mood, like you can with a planned exercise session, so it generally gets performed on a long-term, regular basis as part of your daily life.

6/18/14 6:00 P

for me its just something I do now. I go to my classes, I walk to and from work, I walk for groceries as well. It has all just become "something I just do" I guess this is where its more of a habit then anything else

6/18/14 2:56 P

Recovering from an injury, I currently see exercise as working out. There's a reason it's called WORKing out. It's work. Once exercising becomes a habit -- i.e. I'll feel like something's missing if I don't do it -- it will become an activity. So, for me, exercise is work and activity is something I do to achieve and maintain fitness.
Just like eating the right foods in the right quantities takes effort at first, so does activity.

I'm looking forward to the time when taking care of my body is just what I do.

REGINAROLLINS SparkPoints: (66,618)
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6/18/14 1:42 P

I would call this exercise!!

TINIERTINA Posts: 5,096
6/18/14 10:09 A

In my bizarro world, in which I am circulation-challenged ... exercise is and must be the King of Activity. It all adds up, but when you live at the crest of steep hills, walking these hills (which turns into errands) starts not counting for anything ...

During certain temperate seasons, these steep hills also become a street skateboarder's heaven ... watch out!!

So, when you're older and balance-challenged as well ... walking cannot be done at a sustainable pace ... Watch out! Someone is hanging ten right behind ya' ....

SUSANK16 Posts: 2,635
6/18/14 9:15 A

Truly an interesting question and lots of insight. I think exercise is activity - coming from a long line of farmers and being the first to be born off the farm -- I agree that exercise came from our lifestyle choices years ago and I must admit to being curious about it's future. To place this into perspective, how addicted to TV did we become when it first came out. I can remember being excited on a Sunday afternoon if there was a movie I wanted to see. Now I can see almost any movie I want any day of the week and can never find anything to watch. Nor do I want to spend the money on going to a movie outside the house. Does this make me more prone to take a walk or exercise? Will TV become so "commonplace" so easily accessible and we will lose interest? I also see networks producing more long term series that are stronger in character development and can be watched in a marathon. Lots of interesting concepts here.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,395
6/18/14 12:27 A

I wear a Fitbit, so it's all the same to me. I figure if I get 15,000 steps in, but don't actually do a workout, it's ok because I was still active.

6/17/14 2:20 P

I think ARCHIMEDESII really hit the nail on the head, and here is a great article on the topic as well:
hp?storyId=17792517 When the maids in this (admittedly small, but still interesting) study were told what they were doing was actual EXERCISE, they reaped the benefits! I have seen people on Sparkboards say stuff like, "Hey, I still make time for exercise, and I'm on feet running around all day for my job as a hiking guide." Okay, no one is that extreme, but it amazes me that people don't see the activity as important.

Personally, since I've gotten a FitBit and it syncs with Sparkpeople, I am much more focused on activity, and when my FitBit says I've walked 10 miles, there's no reason to feel guilty about not going to the gym! Because of this activity reporting, I don't worry about whether or not I'm tracking because it does the work for me, so ultimately, my walking is translated as exercise on SP. Even on my worst days (which still aren't terrible as I don't have a car and have to walk most places), Fitbit reports that I've burned hundreds of calories over my BMR.

That said, I find that for my other issues (anxiety, ADHD) there's nothing like some 85%- heart-rate-reaching cardiovascular activity!!

6/16/14 7:12 P

You know what cracks me up? When a bunch of us from the office go out to lunch and I suggest walking, all the guys who run on the treadmill at the gym after work freak out over the idea of walking 2 whole blocks.

I walk alone and usually beat them because I don't have to wait at a red light, find a parking space, etc. :)

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (197,022)
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6/16/14 12:34 P

The problem is that we (as a society) have become so sedentary that the experts tell us we need to exercise to be active. Not so long ago, there wasn't a difference between exercise and activity. People were so active with daily physical labor that we didn't need to exercise. Our normal day's routine kept us fit and healthy.

Today, many of us have desk jobs that have caused us to become more sedentary. So, we need to exercise in order to maintain our health.

Let me give an example. Last weekend, I visited an area of PA known as Pennsylvania Dutch country. This area is also known for it's Amish people. Driving around the towns, I saw a number of Amish farms being worked the old fashioned way i.e. with horses and hard labor. Let me tell you what I did not see. I did not see an obese or morbidly obese Amish person. I know I didn't see everyone, but of the people I did see, most were pretty lean and fit. Why were they so fit ? It's because they still do a lot of heavy labor as part of their normal daily lives.

Pitching hay is an awful lot of work. Chores around the house is a lot of work too. These are busy people with active lives. They aren't sedentary and yet that is what happened to many Americans. Our daily lives just aren't as active. And that's why we're told to exercise. Being sedentary is now one of the worst things a person could do for their heart.

Which is why we encouraged to be more active. It's to keep our vital organs healthy as well as improve our overall well being.

My personal opinion is the exercise and activity were separated when technology started making our lives "easier". You know all those time saving devices like the washing machine, power lawn mower, microwave, etc.

Luckily, I really enjoy walking. so I walk everywhere. That helps make my sedentary day, a lot less sedentary. Which is why we should be exercising if we work desk jobs.

BELLENGLISH Posts: 1,391
6/16/14 11:44 A

Being active and exercising are two different things done in many different ways I walk to the store and other places, but will still go back home and do some strength training, and more cardio.
But I like to get up early in the morning as soon as it is light outside and go walking for at least 60 or more minutes each day. I encounter hills, rough paths and steep spots, which help me increase the intensity.
I like being active so my body keeps moving, but I love exercising to move and change my body dynamics.

FLORADITA SparkPoints: (64,020)
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6/15/14 5:47 P

Speaking for myself, I need to exercise to get the full benefits of a good cardiovascular workout which improves not only my health but my emotional wellbeing too. I sleep better when I workout vs having an active day. I strive to do both, be active throughout the day and to exercise. With exercise I sleep better, feel better and it keeps depression and anxiety in check. Being active is great but it does not necessarily equal being fit and being fit and strong has become even more important now that I have hit my 50's. I could get by with much less when I was younger but once middle age starts creeping in you can quickly lose ground and illness, mobility and healthy issues jump onto the radar. Wish I had stayed fit throughout my 30's and 40's, I'd have a lot less catching up to do!

6/15/14 3:37 P

When I was just starting out, I would count my commute (lots of walking involved in a long public transit journey) as exercise because it was brand new and it was pretty strenuous for me. In later years, I've stopped doing that except in special situations - for example, I wouldn't count working on my feet at my retail job as exercise, but a day where we did inventory and ran around all day might count for something, so I'd scale it down to half an hour of walking and track that. Now I have a job where I spend parts of my day sitting and parts of my day walking around- none of that gets tracked.

Great thread- a very thought-provoking question.

6/15/14 11:34 A

Great thoughts here--from the question to the responses posted so far.

It all makes my mind wander to the question: how far can each of us go? When I see/read profiles of athletes, the balance between innate ability/body composition and sheer force of will intrigues me. How far could I take this machine...starting from where I am now...if I had the drive of a professional athlete? Backing off that (because short of a traumatic brain injury that utterly alters my personality, that ain't happening), how much can I make feel easy over time?

I know I migrated from 1 mile walking to 1 mile jogging fairly easily (before my injury). Then started 5K walking/jogging. I'm looking forward to seeing where I can take this once I heal.

Is it farther? Is it faster? The cool part is just knowing we have the ability to redefine what we're capable of, I think.

Who knows where we'll top out??? :)

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
6/14/14 7:40 P

One possible guide is that the cardio range is generally considered to start when your heart rate is around 55-60% of its maximum.

If something that was previously challenging no longer gets your heart rate into this range, then it is probably now just an activity.

This might occur for a number of reasons:
* many activities are weight-bearing, and as you get lighter, it becomes easier. Walking falls into this category.
* as you continue you to exercise regularly, you get fitter
* your body adapts and gets more efficient (ie. burns fewer calories) at anything it does regularly. Even if your haven't got any fitter or lighter, if you walk regularly, you have probably become a better walker.

I love walking, but find walking on the level barely qualifies, so now I try to include hills on my route.


UKNOWITNOW SparkPoints: (64,560)
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6/14/14 7:08 P

I agree, the exercise you were getting becomes a lot easier and you have to push your self harder to get as much benefit as you did when you first started walking. I am striving to exercise and become more active at the same time. emoticon emoticon

AMESKIE158 Posts: 134
6/14/14 6:40 P

You pose an interesting question. I sounds like you are very active and make time for a work out so, yes, your 1 mile walk feels like a breeze. Not so for someone just starting over. Even a mile may be as much an individual can handle. It's an individual choice. Kudos to you for staying in shape -

PSCHIAVONE2 SparkPoints: (20,650)
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6/14/14 7:37 A

I have come to the conclusion that there is a big difference between working out and having activity during the day. I also believe that activity is more important than exercise. One way I have found to put more activity into my life is walking to the grocery store. I live about one mile away from the store, so I walk to the store and get something to cook for dinner. I used to track this as exercise, until one day I noticed that walking to the store was a breeze and I could do this in my sleep. I decided that this would just be part of my daily activity and not to track as exercise anymore. How do you feel about the difference between exercise and daily activity?


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