Guest Blog by Sheila Olson
fitsheila.com | [email protected]
The Secret about Exercise
Here’s a secret the “No Pain, No Gain” crowd doesn’t want you to know: exercise is supposed to be fun and feel good. I know, I know… for most of us the idea of being swaddled in spandex while spending a half-hour running on a path to nowhere is anything but fun and feel good. At the heart of it all, exercise is supposed to be something we do to celebrate our bodies and spend time with friends.
Exercise is good for you and if you are not getting enough physical activity it can mean serious implications for both your physical and mental health. Working out can help with some of our society’s most pressing problems including major depression and heart disease. It’s important to commit to some sort of exercise in your life for your well-being. To do that, you don’t have to become a gym junkie or get sucked into a toxic fitness culture. By mixing fitness with self-care exercises, the combination will help diminish any negative feelings about yourself. You can approach an overall healthier lifestyle that contributes to your happiness.
Measure Your Progress in Other Ways
Having a scale handy is a great if weight loss is your goal. But for a lot of people, seeing their body weight fluctuate up and down can do more damage than good. We tend to put too much importance on that number. Your body weight is not necessarily an indicator of fitness, progress, or your overall health — in fact, it’s natural for it to fluctuate up to 10 pounds in either direction. Yet that doesn’t stop some people from obsessing over a number.
People that struggle with scales often engage into destructive behaviors:
● Weighing oneself constantly, often as much as multiple times a day.
● Obsessing over how to lose pounds to reach a weight goal.
● Over or under-eating when a weight goal isn’t met.
● Abusing laxatives or diuretics to “shed pounds.”
● Criticizing “problem areas” in the mirror after a bad weigh-in.
If you find that stepping on the scale leads to behaviors like those above, it may be healthier to ditch the home scale and find other ways to track your fitness progress.
Find Workouts You Enjoy
The best exercise for you is the one you enjoy enough to do consistently. However you work out, make it enjoyable and you’ll be on the right path to a healthier lifestyle. You may enjoy yoga, hiking, swimming or dance lessons, but you will never really know until you try them! Thankfully, most fitness classes and boutiques offer a free first lesson to new people that are interested in joining. Try out as many as you can and take it all into account. It’s not just about liking the exercise itself; you also want to find a place where you enjoy being around the people because you feel supported and accepted in the classes.
Look around your area for things that pique your interest, but also take feasibility into account. Generally, we are all pretty busy people. Finding ways to work out without disrupting your schedule too much is another great way to ensure you stick to it. When exercise isn’t a chore or an inhibitor, you will want to keep going because you enjoy it. Having fun while taking care of yourself is pretty much the best self-care there is.
People who don’t like exercise have a point. Reap all the benefits of exercise by dropping those expectations and unhealthy attitudes and instead embrace exercise as a way to celebrate your body and support your health.