As you can imagine, I hear a ton of excuses from people on why they don’t exercise.

Sometimes the reason is self inflicted: I don’t have the time.

Other times the reason is procrastination: I’m going to start as soon as tax season ends.

And occasionally the reason is downright funny: The dog ate my gym shorts. 

I usually point out to these well meaning folks that, despite their reason, exercise is a very important activity that will dramatically improve their life. I bring up the health benefits and describe how many of their physical ailments would improve. I talk about how great they will feel dropping excess weight and rediscovering a slender figure.

However, there was always an excuse that would get me.

The devious excuse of ‘being active’: Oh, I don’t need to exercise in a gym – I’m very active. I play tennis and hike in the summer and I ski in the winter. 

Well, they have a point, right? Tennis, hiking and skiing are all active sports that burn calories. Maybe they can be fit without doing any other exercise, especially if they are at a reasonable weight.

Then I started to notice a trend.

The ‘active’ people couldn’t touch their toes in a simple flexibility test. The ‘tennis players’ couldn’t jump rope for 60 seconds. The ‘hikers’ needed a week to recover from a one mile jog. The ‘skiers’ encountered injury after injury. And then it hit me.

You don’t become fit by simply being active. That’s backward fitness.

Only by being fit can you become more active.

To become and maintain a level of fitness there is no replacement for a consistent exercise program. It’s the only way.

True fitness is when your body can do whatever you ask of it. This means having flexibility, strength and endurance.

Do you exercise? Or are you fooling yourself with the excuse of ‘being active’?

How happy are you with your level of fitness? Are you able to meet all of the functional demands of life? Or do you find yourself opting out of experiences or situations that you know would be too challenging?

If you’ve used the excuse of ‘being active’ in the past, it’s time to reconsider your options. Don’t practice backward fitness with the hope of true results.