Training vs Exercise: What's the difference?

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What’s the difference between training versus exercise? And which should you do? Both have purpose, but the intention is different. Let’s break it down.

Exercise helps to keep you healthy. It’s a form of physical activity that you want to do consistently, in some capacity, for the rest of your life. You want to exercise daily. This can be in the form of a workout or simply walking your dog or biking to work. The intention is to move your body for the sake of keeping it healthy! And to do so through a range of intensities and activities to maintain healthy body weight and strength, increase mood and energy levels, combat illness and disease, and overall feel your best.

Training, although exercise, has a different intention than maintaining good health. Training gets you ready to compete - in a race, event, match, etc. It is a form of exercise that is acutely focused on preparing you to meet a particular performance goal. This could be running your first 5k or finishing a marathon. Or maybe running a race at a certain speed. You train because you are competing - either with yourself or others.

To determine if you should train or exercise, identify your anticipated outcomes. Do you want to lose weight and/or simply feel your best? Exercise. Do you want to run your neighborhood 10k or sign up for a long-distance swim? Train. Your desired results are your guide!

One thing to note: if you have found yourself losing the focus or motivation to exercise, consider training for something that will challenge you. Training might be the very thing that holds you accountable and gets you excited to exercise. It’s like knowing that a test or exam is coming…you study. If you know you’ve committed to a race - especially if your friends and family are running it too - you are more likely to keep a running regimen.

exerciseJulie Minchew