Do you do exercise or do you use exercise? And what’s the difference?

Quite a lot, actually. What’s done mostly as exercise is the “doing” kind, and that applies to anything where you’re using your whole body, like running or sports of any kind. Even walking, tai chi and, in many cases, yoga are a “doing” kind of exercise.

Make no mistake, these are all good things to “do” because, just like using your car on a regular basis is better than leaving it idle in the garage (which doesn’t mean “idling,” of course), regular exercise helps keep you healthy. It helps circulate your blood so more oxygen flows through your blood stream to cleanse your cells and feed them with the nutrients needed to nourish your whole body. And it helps keep the synovial fluid lubricating your joints and your muscles from wasting away.

Especially in this day of endless sitting that has taken over the lives of so many of us, lack of movement will make your joints feel “stiff,” so that simple actions like getting off and on a chair or climbing stairs becomes increasingly more difficult. So by all means keep up your exercise routine.

But I have to ask, is your exercising fixing things in your body that cause you pain, like backache, or that limit how far you can bend, or how easily you can look back over your shoulder when driving your car? If any of these apply to you, you’re using your body in an “as is” condition and we know what that means in terms of a car: At some point it’s going to have problems that make the car difficult to drive, if not actually dangerous. For your body, replace “dangerous” with “injured.”

The danger you have in simply keeping up your exercise routine is that unless your body is in perfect mechanical condition, the wear and tear on joints that aren’t properly aligned and that are being compressed by the weight of your own bones and soft tissue is going to cause you pain.

At some point or other, wherever your body is misaligned and your internal support muscles don’t keep your weight off your joints, they will suffer the same consequence as a building that isn’t built on plumb lines and with construction materials sufficiently strong to support the building and all that’s in it. The simple truth is, cracks will begin to appear in the walls and those cracks, in your body, are what’s causing your pain!

I read on a website that exercises such as biceps curls shouldn’t be done in isolation because they can upset the balance of the body. I’m not going to advise you on the pros and cons of building muscle bulk, but I can tell you that working your body parts in isolation is definitely what you need to do to take care of the “cracks” in your body.

This is where “using” exercise comes in. Though it’s also called “exercise,” it’s done in a different way and it’s what fixes your body in the places that hurt or that don’t work as well as they should. It’s the same thing we do with our cars to make them run well, and until all the parts of the car, and your body, are working in the best possible condition, they’re in an “as is” condition and you’re using them at your own risk.

Somatic Stretch and Inner Body Fitness are to your body what your mechanic is to your car. They make your body work properly, perform well, and most importantly, feel good.

Next time: Good posture — so what is it?