Blog Post: You DON’T Have to Exercise! Instead you Should…

You DON’T have to exercise! Instead you should…

Article by Leo Trevino

There are very few of us who can admit we want to truly exercise. In particular, this is true for the many of us who don’t exercise regularly.

Yet, exercise is something that we all know should be on our to-do list. We know it’s beneficial for health. And we especially associate exercising with losing weight, among many other benefits.

But when thinking of exercising many of us can develop a sort of anxiety; relentlessness you may say. It’s the growing fear of having to push ourselves and our bodies to uncomfortable levels!

In fact, perhaps you may have started to get tired or started sweating once you read the word exercise in this post!

Maybe you’re like many of us and are just too busy to even think about exercising.

Not to mention, having to include exercise after working for 8 hours (or more)! Doesn’t sound too good.

And if you haven’t been active in a while, then it becomes even more daunting to take those first steps.

But we will see, that preparing the body starts with preparing the mind!

The attitude behind “exercising” and a different approach to it may be all we need! It can give us the confidence to take those first amazing steps, literally.

Which leads me to the title of this post; you don’t have to exercise, it is true, instead you should…drum roll please… MOVE!

Conquer the mental rut of “Exercise!”

Yes! MOVE! We should take the word “exercise” out of our vocabulary. Instead, we should use the word “movement!”

The word “exercise” has been used and abused for such a long time, most of us don’t find the word motivating. In fact, it may de-motivate you!

When you hear the word “movement,” you think progress. You think results!

This small change in thinking can help us overcome the curve of being inactive. It can give us a chance to get the ball rolling towards our health goals! This is especially helpful if you are like many out there who don’t want to “exercise!”

I suggest, take out the old, and bring in the new.

A new ballgame to get the ball rolling

For years, people have recommended that you get exercise.

“Exercise for good health” they say.

And for those same years, people have created all sorts of options to get this exercise done. This idea of “getting it done” may be where we sell ourselves a bit short.

Think of an exercise. You do an activity, or activities, and you do it for a certain amount of time.

For example, let’s say running 30 minutes on the treadmill. We have the activity, and we have the time frame associated with it.

So I ask, is this the only way to get the benefits of being more active?

Well…it’s not the ONLY way!

Limit our time to exercise, and we limit our benefits of movement! We close the door mentally.

Movement can’t have a limit. It is limitless. As it’s been said, everything is in constant motion.

Let’s see how movement can play its role in replacing exercising.

Who uses the word “exercise?”

First off, let’s take the approach of “you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.”

So let’s start with the etymology of the word “exercise.”

According to, the word exercise comes from the 13 century Old French word “exercice.” This means “condition of being in active operation.” Another example is from the Medieval Latin word,“exercere.” This one means; “to remove restraint,” which I find particularly interesting.

Let’s say you were restrained, perhaps tied down in some way. Removing the restraint allows you to move, it allows you to be in a “condition to be in active operation.” You can see where I’m going with this.

So what can we take from this origin of the word exercise?

That our thinking of it should be broader! We shouldn’t limit it to a time frame. This wouldn’t be “being in active operation.”

Let’s go back to the Old French definition, “condition of being in active operation.”First let’s break down the word “condition.”

Think about the human body.

A Body in Motion, Stays in…

Would you agree with me that the human body is fundamentally conditioned to move? Let’s see.

We have limbs that allows us to stand upright, to move forward and backwards, and to squat down, correct?

Would you agree that we have limbs that allow us to pick up objects, push objects, and pull objects?

Without a doubt the human body is perfectly conditioned to undertake movement!

Now let’s look at the rest of the definition, “being in active operation.” We can even tie this into the Medieval Latin definition “to remove restraint” as well.

When one is restrained, they cannot be in active operation, that is, they cannot move, right?

But when we remove the restraint…we now have the opportunity. The opportunity to move.

Moving the body in all its basic natural movements makes up our ability to be in operation. There are no restraints to moving the body.

The last piece of the definition,“active.” To put it all together we can conclude that…To exercise, means at a fundamental level…that we would “be moving the body through its natural movements consistently.”

This can sound a bit strange or even disheartening, now we are talking about moving the body consistently!


Thinking of moving the body for just a short period of time is hard to do, such as when we think about what exercising is. But now we’re talking moving consistently!

But keep in mind this overall thought. I’m not implying consistent strenuous activity like we think of when it comes to traditional cardio exercise. However, these activities do have their place in an overall fitness plan. Here though, we are simply talking about moving the body through its natural movements more often. Think walking as an example.

Think movement, and forget exercising. Exercising has limitations! Movement opens the doors to all the benefits of being active.

Remember, as well…that the body is always moving: your heart, your digestive system, your respiratory system…we are simply moving the rest of the body with these parts that are already moving.

Simply put, to be alive, is to be in movement.

But, you want to do cardio, you say…

You may be wondering at this point where the whole “cardio” thing fits in to this. Because part of exercising and the whole “its’ good for you” advice is tailored to heart health, right?

Well yes, it is. At least the popular consensus of exercising, or movement I should say. Other activities such as strength training and stretching are part of the broader category of movements.

There is no denying that getting the heart rate up is beneficial. Pumping blood throughout the body has tremendous benefits. We all know this.

Consider movements to raise the heart beat as natural upgrades. At the basic level of movement, it’s all about being mindful about the keeping body active.

First step is to accept and understand movement from this perceptive. Then we can begin to upgrade our movements. Some examples can be cardio and strength training. These can natural progressions and additions to our overall movements.

Moving the body consistently is the key here.

Doing this opens our consciousness to the fact that moving the body is not limited to when we exercise.

So we may ask; does this have any real world application, whether past or present?

See the movement take shape

In the documentary, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto there is a particular part of the movie that I found intriguing. They went to study one of the few tribe groups that still live like the way majority of our ancestors did. That is, they are still very active hunter and gatherers!

The documentary mainly expressed information about their food intake. For me, it was the physical activity side of it that I found to be equally important. And even more compelling!

In the movie, they explain that the tribe has to do many activities to survive. They have to dig up roots and grind them to make them more edible. They have hunt for game and drive sticks into trees to help them climb and get honey! Amazing stuff!

A quote from the movie asks us, “imagine someone in the current western civilized world having to climb a tree every time they want to drink a soda.” It made me giggle.

So we can see, in our actual present time, we have an example with this tribe. An example showing us that movement is a way of life for them and was a way of life for our ancestors. In fact, this tribe doesn’t exercise! That is, they don’t “exercise” like we think of it.

They move! They move their bodies consistently.

And who would of guessed, this tribe has no, I repeat, NO cases of any of the chronic diseases here in the west.

Not to mention at any particular time they may eat tremendous amount of meat and fat. Another time, tremendous amounts of starch and sugar. But it didn’t matter. Still no diseases like heart disease or diabetes.

Of course for the record, they also don’t eat any process foods. But I’m guessing you knew this already!

The tribe I mention above is in the documentary. Just in case your curious I included the trailer below.

***Rent the movie here***

What about “non” hunter gather societies? You know…Where majority of us reading this article reside! Do any of them under go plenty of movements and does it tie to general health?

When we look into it, we will see this consistent body movement echoed in our current Centenarian’s role as well. Many who have reached the coveted age of 100 have had an active lifestyle.

Many times it wasn’t activities like exercising in the way we think of it. It was being active like taking care of land, farming, or other day to day activity. This allowed them to make the body do it’s natural movements more consistently.

At times these movements were more strenuous than others. At times it involved more muscle than other times. It wasn’t systematic exercising, rather random activity and effort through the day-to-day living.

Perhaps this is why many physical activity coaches recommend variety in your workouts. To mimic the variances in body activity we would face living in a place such as a farm and the responsibilities of handling farm animals and land.

One may argue that in current westernized worlds, we don’t have to climb trees or take to farming. So we don’t have all this natural opportunities to be more active.
This is true. But it may be more helpful to look at the grand scheme of things here.

Whether you have the opportunity to move the body or not, making the commitment to move the body more in any way is what we want to accomplish.

We now have the right mental state to prepare us for a healthier body. To apply in the future more beneficial movements and movement patterns

The old maxim, “if there is a will, there is a way” is the understated truth throughout this post.

And what does science have to say about all this consistent, non-strenuous, non-exercise movements? Can this case hold water? Absolutely!

Science is on the path to movement!

The good news is that science backs it up as well. They even have a “neat” name for it. It is N.E.A.T. This breaks down into Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

Basically science refers to this as the energy expended in response to activity that is not considered exercise.That is, activity not considered something you are doing purposely,and exclusively, to bring up the heart rate.

You can find the complete definition here at this government website.

Everything you do that is an active motion fits into this scientific understanding. There is still much to learn about N.E.A.T and its role to play.

We have these various clues from information about the tribe and centenarians that shed a positive light. Many factors we are still discovering such as insulin sensitivity and muscle atrophy and/or sarcopenia also play a role.

Taking your first step! Moving forward…

The case in point is this, making the commitment to move the body more consistently is the first step. Do this before anything.

Don’t commit to just start exercising, but to start moving more! Remember, I suggest to take exercise out of your vocabulary.

We can even conveniently put this in the form of stages. Mental stages, if you will, that prepares you for more movement challenges as time goes on.

Stage 1 is making that commitment, and acting on it. Stage 1 is to start moving the body more often. Understand that this is the fundamental starting point to a more healthy you. It is this stage, stage 1, that must be completed first before moving on to the next stages of movements.

After making the commitment to move the body more. Start acting on it!

You have now taken the necessary required steps to literally move forward on your activity level. Congrats!!!

Ready, Set…MOVE!

Take a stroll. Walking is the most underrated movement you can do. It is the best of the best when it comes to moving the body more consistently.

Do body weight movements during commercials when you watch TV, such as squats.

If you sitting for a long period of time set a timer for 30 minutes. When it beeps, do some movement for 5 minutes before sitting back down. Perhaps some stretching.

Play some type of active game. Things like table tennis. Or anything fun where you move!

Once you start incorporating moving the body more, you will naturally start to be curious of other activities you can do. This will elevate your amount of movements.

For many of us just starting, any movement can be a very difficult step to take, especially if we haven’t done ANY activity for a long period of time.

Start with Stage 1. Make a commitment to move the body more. And in no time you will find yourself being able to step up your game to even more beneficial movements, such as cardio, HIIT, and strength training!

Keep in mind…Small steps lead to BIG changes.

So…, DON’T exercise, MOVE! And see the different it can make to your well being!

What do you think? What are some “movements” you do every day?

4 Replies to “Blog Post: You DON’T Have to Exercise! Instead you Should…”

  1. Thank you Leo!! Very informative & I was once a runner & exercised quite a bit. Then came the ankle surgery & torn meniscus on my knee surgery. So went from being fit to non movement. Gained lots of weight & reading your articles & attending your classes at our day home association meeting. I now have Plan B!!

    1. Awesome to hear Velma! Thank you for sharing! It must be tough to come back from an injury like that, but it sounds like it’s given you the strength to work towards your “movement” goals…go after it! -Leo

  2. Great new outlook! It’s obvious the normal is not as effective for the common person and looking at it in this manner could spark the motivation needed to take those first steps…..literally! Great job, Leo!

    1. Hey Hector! Thank you for your kind comments! Sometimes a small change in prepective can make a big difference in our actions. 🙂 – Leo

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