05 August 2005

Purposed Exercise vs. Team Sports

I can hear the (still small) audience cry, "Obviously these are too different to compare." Perhaps for some they are, but in my experience one is often considered a substitute for the other. So now if we must compare the two let's see how they compare on several different levels:

Efficiency of exercise

Purposed exercise is the the clear winner in this category. Weight-lifting and running will always get the affected muscles worked out faster than the more indirect sports (isn't that the goal of purposed exercise). Although it should be mentioned that the indirect nature of exercise in sports can often aid duration of activity.


Its hard to argue that this doesn't go to Team Sports. Although great friendships can be developed during partner or team exercise (think EMWO), the goals almost always are individual. Whereas team sports not only bring together more people, they goals are largely social as well.

Skills and Development

This gets a little fuzzy. Depeding on the circumstances swimming for a team is obviously a sport (although it does not differ much from simple exercise) and it obviously requires skills. But in general the skills learned in team sports are longer lasting. Indeed "skill" in weight-lifting, running, and the such is often a measure of how long you have been doing it at a stretch. Every one that has taken summer vacation as a vacation from the gym knows that little "skill" returns with you to school the next fall. Compare that to more cognitive and muscle-learning sports like football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball. Here off-season training is often not practice in the sport so much as development using purposed exercise. Skills again goes to Team Sports.

Considering the above categories, team sports is a decisive winner. So why is there purposeful exercise at all. Here are a few reasons:
  • Not everyone wants to be social all the time. Alone time is underrated.
  • It is relatively difficult outside of organized leagues to put together a team sport.
  • Stress of potential failure on the field contrasts knowledge of self-betterment in the gym.

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