• nautilusfitness

Exercice versus Recreation

Updated: Oct 28

What I am about to explain is a very simply concept however it is absolutely critical in enabling people to get the utmost out of their exercise endeavours, while also making the most of their recreational activities. It does not purport to be a magical workout routine or some magical dietary elixir, just a simple common-sense approach to how an individual should approach their health and fitness regime for maximum benefit in both respects. Each is as important as the other. Granted there is some overlap in the overall scheme of fitness, it is only when the difference is understood, can one apply themselves in certainly the most effective and probably the most disciplined manner.

Let’s begin with the definition of exercise in this particular context.

Exercise is a process whereby the body performs work of a demanding nature.

The key word here is demanding. i.e. actions resulting in laboured breathing and/or significant muscular loading. When completed properly this results in the inability to complete further repetitions (a concept which I will expand on in subsequent writings.)

Let’s now define recreation in this particular context.

Recreation is fun pastime activities. There are an almost infinite number of activities which may be recreational to a particular individual.

This will be a little confronting for some people, so I would ask the reader for patience so the concept can be fully explained.

There are 5 distinctions between Exercise and Recreation.


1 Logical Instinctive

2 Universal Personal

3 General Specific

4 Physical Mental

5 Not fun Fun

*If we surveyed the infinite variety of activities that might be recreational to somebody, they would fall somewhere on the imaginary continuum!

1. Logical/Instinctive: Exercise is a logical strategy designed to dupe the protective mechanisms of the body and induce a physiological change. Recreation is instinctual and illogical, even whimsical; “an activity the individual would prefer to do.”

2. Universal/Personal: Exercise is based on muscular and joint functions of the human body. Remember all Homo Sapiens have the same muscular and joint functions! Therefore, the principles and application of exercise are the same for every human being on the planet! It follows that, in a general sense, exercise is the same for everybody. Recreation on the other hand is personal and very much so. The activity you choose to do as recreation may well be very different to the next person.

3. General/Specific: With regard to skill acquisition, exercise is general. Improved strength, endurance and resistance to injury are general improvements throughout the human body that will positively contribute to the performance of any activity. There is no such specificity in exercise! Proficiency in a particular task (e.g. a better first serve) will only significantly improve by the exact rehearsal of that specific task.

4. Physical/Mental: There are many intellectual aspects of exercise which include, motivation to train, concentration to achieve adequate intensity, learning of the exercise movement. There are some dramatic psychological benefits of exercise but the initial reasons for performing exercise are physical. The initial reason for recreation is mental health and fun.

5. Not fun/fun: Exercise is not supposed to be fun, it’s outright hard work and challenging as a result! Seriously, if it is fun then you should suspect that something is wrong! Recreation is supposed to be fun. It is the first requirement of recreation.

This is a very simplified analysis of a more complex discussion. I am happy to discuss it in further detail, so please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. Remember, exercise has immense potential benefit, probably way more than most of us suspect, though we still sing its praises.

· Exercise serves to stimulate, but it must be at a sufficiently high intensity

· Exercise “itself” does not truly provide the benefits! The human body produces the benefits when it grows, adapts in the period after exercise, IF the stimulus has been sufficient. (For up to 48 hours.)

Understand the difference between exercise and recreation. Honestly, do not try and make exercise enjoyable and do not try and make recreation exercise. While some inevitable overlap will exist as already noted, if you confuse and mix exercise with recreation you will likely grossly compromise any forthcoming physical benefits of exercise; you could also destroy a large degree of the fun that recreation should be stow. Furthermore, you may also make each more dangerous that they need be.

If you place exercise and recreation in their proper perspective the quality of your life will markedly improve.

If you have any questions please free to get in touch.


John McConachy

12-20 Sommers Street, Belmont VIC 3216

T: 03 5243 2819

F: 03 5243 0388

@ Geelong Lawn Tennis Club 2016

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