You want to know the key to long-term health and vitality?

Hint..It’s not exercise. In fact, more exercise might just make you less healthy, especially if you’re not doing it correctly.

Instead, the most powerful aspect of long-term health is movement. Yes, that’s right. The simple act of moving your body more often.

When daily movement of your body becomes an autonomous part of your life, you unlock a vital key to not only living longer, but more importantly, to living more fully. You feel better. You think better. You look better. 

And while exercise and movement might sound like the same thing, they are not. We like to break it down like this:

Exercise = The Grind

When you focus solely on exercise, it’s part of what we call “the grind.” Over time, you will literally wear yourself down, compromising health and energy along the way. 

Movement = Active Passion Zone

On the other hand, focusing on daily movement will boost energy and improve your health.

It’s movement that matters more for our health.

Movement that keeps us young.

Movement that helps us think better.

Movement that helps us reduce stress.

Movement gets you into the Active Passion Zone where you experience the overflow effect — when you start flowing in one area of your life and all of a sudden other areas of your life improve as well.

Before we get into what movement looks like, let’s dive deeper into exercise.

What Does Exercise Look Like?

Barbell_Group_Fitness_Class2

  • Exercise is the gym
  • Exercise is running or jogging
  • Exercise is a spin class or any other group fitness class
  • Exercise is boot camps
  • Exercise is crossFit
  • Exercise is bodybuilding

The language around exercise is:

  • You need to do this exercise
  • Don’t do that one
  • You gotta do your cardio
  • Never lift heavy weights

That’s what the grind sounds like. A lotta of “shoulds” and “musts”.

In the grind, the mindset around exercise is like punishment, or at the very least, it feels like a god-damn chore. And the worst part about exercise as part of the grind is that there’s a culture around it that says it’s never enough.

It’s this thinking of…“if a little bit is good for us, than more is better.”

NO, more exercise is not better. Especially if you don’t move your body well!

In the grind, with the focus on exercise, you do things like “work outs”.

The arena of workouts is the gym.

Treadmills. Ellipticals. Weight machines.

Skinny group instructors yelling at you to work harder. You blindly perform exercises because someone told you to do so.

You follow a one-size fits all plan that worked for someone else with gifted genetics who relies on their body looking a certain way to make a living.

Here’s the problem with exercise. 

When we focus on exercise alone and combine it with a sedentary lifestyle (not moving often), health suffers. Sure, it’s better than nothing, but exercise alone will not be sufficient to offset the damage of sitting, driving in a car, and time hunched over in front of a computer.

Man Stretching at Desk

Take the typical office worker who sits 8-10 hours per day and then sits another hour or so commuting. Even with vigorous exercise multiple times per week, the lack of movement will increase risk of heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic disease. See study here.

 

Instead, Focus On Movement In The Active Passion Zone

In the Active Passion Zone, we focus on daily movement.

It’s daily movement that fights aging and keeps us young.

It’s daily movement that helps us think better.

It’s daily movement that reduces stress.

And at the end of the day, it’s daily movement that triggers the overflow effect — that positive momentum that moving your body will have to thinking more clearly, having more energy, and feeling better.

This is what we’re after in the Active Passion Zone.

What Does Movement Look Like?

It’s exactly what you think it is. Moving your body more often. In the Active Passion zone:

SaltWater_3-15_163

  • Movement is playing
  • Movement is rolling around with your kids
  • Movement is walking
  • Movement is hiking
  • Movement is swimming
  • Movement is surfing
  • Movement is gardening

Movement is whatever you want it to be. Not what some fitness expert tells you it should be!

In the Active Passion Zone, the world you walk around is your “gym.” Nature is your playground. You train in the environment that works for you. It certainly could be the gym, but it doesn’t have to be.

It could be a yoga mat on the floor of your apartment.

It could be the Ocean.

Or the mountains.

It’s 100% up to you. Not what culture says you should be doing.

 

nick_passion

The big element of the Active Passion Zone is that movement happens because you want it to. It becomes part of your identity.

It’s not something you’re forced to do.

When you’re in the Active Passion zone, the typical “exercise” that might have been a chore in the past is now something you look forward to. You have a strong reason WHY you are doing what you are doing. For example:

  • You can push through the discomfort of training because you know that getting stronger will allow you to experience more joy with activities you like to do. Here’s an example from my training.
grind vs apz

(Here the brutal discomfort of the split squat on the left will translate into better and longer surfing.)

  • Waking up early doesn’t phase you when you know the “exercise” you are doing will get you closer to your life dreams.

 

  • Taking the stairs without hesitation instead of the elevator is an easy choice because you want to set a healthy example for your kids.

 

Why Movement Matters

As mentioned above, moving more will trigger the overflow effect in your life. It’s the idea that if you move well, you also think, feel, and live well. Then you do more of it. That leads to more movement which leads to better health. It’s a virtuous cycle that can transform your life.

Pulling from the research done from Precision Nutrition*, this is what we know:

“It’s been proven that healthy movement helps us:

  • Feel well, physically and emotionally
  • Function productively
  • Think, learn, and remember
  • Interact with the world
  • Communicate and express ourselves
  • Connect and build relationships with others

It’s also been shown that movement can help improve our brains.

Thus, movement:

  • Helps maintain existing brain structures
  • Helps slow age-related mental decline
  • Helps us recover if our brain is injured or inflamed
  • Lowers oxidative stress
  • Increases the levels of a substance known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is involved in learning and memory”

How To Get More Movement In Your Life

At the core of the Active Passion Zone is that physical activity that lights you up and gets you excited. That’s the ultimate goal is finding that for you. It’s the sure fire way to get more movement into your life. But it might take a little time to find it. It might require a little trial and error. Make sure to check out these resources to help you:

What’s Missing From Your Fitness Program

Active Passion: Exercise That Needs No Motivation

Unlock Your Motivation To Stay Fit For Life

A practical way to get started with moving more TODAY is to try one of these 10 simple strategies:

  • A 5-minute walk after dinner
  • A morning yoga stretch for 3 minutes as the morning coffee brews
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Parking a little bit further away from the grocery store entrance
  • Getting off the subway or bus one stop early and walking home
  • Stand up at your desk every hour and do one squat
  • Take an afternoon movement snack to walk outside and call a friend
  • Find a movement buddy you can sweat with
  • Take phone calls standing up
  • Start a simple 5-minute morning movement meditation like this here

Get moving a little more today and you’ll be feeling better right away. Once you focus on movement, not exercise, you’ll experience the overflow effect.

This is the key to getting out of the grind and into the Active Passion Zone!

References

Ballard-Barbash, Rachel, et al. Physical activity, biomarkers, and disease outcomes in cancer survivors: a systematic review. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 104.11 (2012): 815-840. Bize R, Johnson JA, Plotnikoff RC. Physical activity level and health-related quality of life in the general adult population: a systematic review. Prev Med 45 (2007): 401–415. Duncan, Michael J. and Michelle Stanley. Functional movement is negatively associated with weight status and positively associated with physical activity in British primary school children. Journal of Obesity 2012, Article ID 697563. doi:10.1155/2012/697563 Egan, Brendan, and Juleen R. Zierath. Exercise metabolism and the molecular regulation of skeletal muscle adaptation. Cell metabolism 17.2 (2013): 162-184. Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando. Collaborative effects of diet and exercise on cognitive enhancement. Nutr Health. 2011 ; 20(3-4): 165–169.

 

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