Recreational Activities Are Not Necessarily Exercise

Exercise is not supposed to be fun.  If it is fun, then you should suspect that something is wrong.

The quote above is from an essay entitled “Exercise vs Recreation” by Ken Hutchins, posted at the Efficient Exercise website.  Skyler Tanner works at Efficient Exercise and his blog is one that I follow.  We have a strange connection.  Skyler grew up in Fountain Hills, AZ; I live about 20 miles from there.  He lives in Austin, TX, now; I lived there for eight years.

Here’s another quote from that essay:

One pound of human fat can support the energy demands of running 35-45 miles, probably more.  This would require the average man to run for 6-8 hours.  He would burn the calories he could easily ingest in as many minutes.

Hutchins’ essay is thought-provoking.  It may change the way you think about exercise.

Steve Parker, M.D.


Filed under Exercise

4 responses to “Recreational Activities Are Not Necessarily Exercise

  1. Interesting article. And whilst I would agree with the thrust of it, I would think though that he really works the semantics to be contrarian: he first defines exercise – using an as I can see random textbook – as something that can only be maintained for 1-3minutes and then shows that this can not be recreational. Firstly – telling marathon runners, triathletes and the like that they are not exercising is a bit harsh. More importantly, what he fails to bring out clearly is the point that – I believe – he really wants to make. Just like Mark Sisson he says you should “sprint” and “play” – but I would argue that both is exercise. Or rather – should be called “exercise”. This is really semantics.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Thor.
      I’ll confess I don’t know who Ken Hutchins is, his credentials, etc.
      I respect the guys at Efficient Exercise, and don’t think they would have posted the essay haphazardly. They run a gym, and may be subtly trying to convince therir clients that exercise isn’t supposed to be fun all time. So come on in anyway. Recreation IS fun.
      I ran 20 miles a week between the ages of 20 and 40, including two marathons. I considered it both exercise and recreation. I didn’t do much else for exercise. Now that I’ve finished 14 weeks of Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance, my thoughts on exercise versus recreation are evolving. Core Performance isn’t recreational for me, it’s 99% exercise. Twenty years of a relatively well-rounded program would have made me more “fit” than simply jogging. I leave the definition of “fitness” for another day.


  2. I am sure those guys are good – and the underlying message certainly stands: getting fit is hard work, at least at times. What did tick me off when reading their post though was the hubris and negativity, essentially telling a lot of accomplished sportsmen that they dont know sh+t and thay they dont exercise.

    Contrast this with Mark Sisson’s style who tells you you have to sprint, lift heavy, and play. All of it positive and constructive, and the message is essentially the same, bar the you-are-stupid-and-you-dont-know-what-you-are-doing part.

  3. Call it what you like exercise, recreation, play… if it isn’t fun or at least enjoyable to some extent, most people probably aren’t going to do it.