What counts?

Ugh. I accidentally took two rest days in a row this week, which is something I: a) hadn’t done in a while, and b) was really hoping to avoid in 2013. Also, it always makes me feel really shitty about myself, even though deep down I would really much rather be a lazy blob–who eats pint after pint of ice cream–than run around all the time, anyway. (Ok, so maaaybe that last part is a total lie. While it is  true that I do greatly enjoy relaxing, I would definitely go completely insane if that’s all I ever did.)

Tim and I have had some interesting discussions about rest days, which could be a whole post in itself. In fact, in the interest of not overwhelming you with a super long post now, I will save that discussion for another time. Besides, it’s only minutely relevant to this post in that thinking about those discussions led to this train of thought:

Me v. Tim, re: rest days→Tim hates rest days→Tim has been skiing every day for the last two weeks and should actually probably take a rest day soon before he hurts himself (don’t worry, he finally did on Thursday)→Skiing→Snowboarding→Tim considers (lift-served) skiing/riding a rest day activity, I consider it a workout→Do other couples have such weird arguments?→Does this count as an argument?→What counts as exercise?

When I began my previous blog last January–with the intent of being active for 360 days, ha!–there were many days, especially in the beginning, that my workout for the day was “just” yoga. About a month and a half in, I started to wonder if a yoga practice could actually count as a workout and ultimately convinced myself that it didn’t unless it was a Bikram class. I mean, can you really consider something “exercise” if it begins with sitting and ends with lying down?

I was going to insert a picture of someone in savasana, but this shirt came back as one of the first hits in my Google search and is WAY more awesome. (Someone please buy one for me? Kthx.)

But now that I have spent the better part of this week thinking about this issue, I’m starting to think that maybe I was wrong in coming to that conclusion. Yoga is incredibly beneficial in many ways, especially physically. Sure, it may not burn as many calories as running, or cycling, or even climbing, but it helps keep you limber so you can do all of the other things you enjoy more easily, like running, and cycling, and climbing. Yoga teaches you how to breathe more efficiently so that you don’t waste any unnecessary energy in your more active pursuits. And it certainly helps to strengthen and tone virtually every muscle in your body, even the ones you sometimes forget you have! So there’s no argument that yoga is good for your body…is that enough to make it “count”? I’m leaning toward yes.

In addition, I’m starting to think that even my rest days aren’t a complete  waste. I got a stability ball for Christmas and have been spending an average of 3-4 hours on it at work every day since, which appears to be good for me in several ways other than helping me stay a bit more focused by alleviating the urge to get up and walk around every five minutes. Also, I’ve adopted the practice of doing wall pushups each time I go to the bathroom (ten before, ten after) after a friend told me about a lady she knows who does the same to fight arm jiggle…and since I drink a ton of water and tea throughout the day, I’ve been averaging 140-160 pushups every day (granted, it probably takes 10 of the wall version to equal one real one–but I’m not about to drop and give anyone 10 on the floor of a bathroom. Ew). Again, such small measures obviously aren’t contributing to any major calorie burn, but they do make my otherwise-sedentary job slightly more active, and that must count for something, right?

So what do you guys think? As athletic people, is our day wasted if we don’t get our heart rates up over 150 or sweat out a pound or two? Can something only count as a workout if we have a hard time catching our breath when it’s over? Or, assuming our end goal is simply to be fit and healthy creatures, do less-strenuous-but-still-physically-beneficial activities count? I’d love to hear how other people feel about this!

Super dangerous. 🙂

7 thoughts on “What counts?

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  1. I know this mental game all too well… I used to have the exact same mindset as you in that I thought something didn’t “count” if I didn’t burn lots of calories. I wouldn’t count skiing or Yoga as a “real” workout. But something changed when I started taking lifting more seriously… I found that when I cut way back on cardio and took more rest days (or did a workout that didn’t “count”), I could work out much more intensely when I did work out, which lead to really good results. And, it’s the same for cardio. When you’re fresh you can push that much harder, and if I’ve learned one thing over the years it’s that results don’t come from quantity, they come from intensity.

    So I say rest a little more than you think you should, and then harness that anxiety you feel about not doing “enough” to bring the intensity to your workouts. I, of course, am still struggling with this myself 🙂


    1. I like your style, especially the “rest a little more than you think you should” part…I can definitely get on board with that! 😀

      I’m sure I will continue to struggle with all of this as well, but it’s good to know I’m not just crazy and that other people have the same inner argument.


  2. Rest days are just as important as work out days. Ask any pro athlete. My coach gives me a rest day every week, and I get a rest week (only 4-5 work outs all short and slow) every fourth week. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild. Going full out all the time every work out every day will lead to injury.


    1. It makes sense that your rest week still includes lower-intensty workouts (I would imagine that actually taking a week off would be a minor setback), but on your normal weekly rest day, do you still do something or are you a lazy blob (like me 🙂 )?


    1. Hopefully your injury wasn’t too serious! On your rest/recovery days, do you actually rest (i.e., do nothing), or do you do something easy, like go for a walk, yoga, etc.?


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