Sport vs Exercise; You Need One To Do The Other

Let’s take a minute to talk about sport versus exercise, because, yes, there is a difference. Ignoring this difference can cost you dearly - both in terms of injury and performance.

The main problem is that people use sport as exercise, and spend no time training their bodies. That is, they ignore the fact that you are supposed to train and exercise so that you can do your sport successfully and safely, and instead they just jump straight to playing the sport. Relying on your tennis game to keep you in shape is walking a dangerous line, if you’re not training the mobility and agility that is required to play. You’re on a fast path to injury.

The most glaring example of this is running. In Washington, DC, someone is running somewhere at every hour of the day. Granted, running is an effective calorie burner, and one can usually run any time, anywhere and for free. People therefore tend to rely only on running for their workouts, forgetting that running is extremely demanding on the body. The high impact and repetitive motion at a quick pace can easily lead to overuse injuries.

Running is a sport, and doing it well and safely actually requires training for it. A big pet peeve of mine is runners that say they don’t need leg day because they run. This is reality flipped on it’s head. The fact that you run is exactly the reason you SHOULD train legs! Running is not a leg workout. Running is cardio. If you want to run far, fast, and injury-free you need to cross-train.

Professional runners know this. Ask any one of them whether running is the only thing they do to prepare for races and I can promise you that they will promptly inform you that weight training to promote proper muscular balance and movement pattern drills also play a big part.

Running - and, for that matter, biking, capoeira, dodgeball, salsa dancing, yoga, crossfit - is a sport. If you want to continue playing the sport, well and without injury, you need to respect the sport by training for it.

For help and ideas with sport specific training, I’m always here to help. :-)

Elizabeth Romsloe