The fitness industry has made us buy into the idea that exercise is all about “no pain no gain” and throwing up during a workout has somehow become and admirable thing to do… While I have a lot of respect for the people who indulge in this type of training, I sometimes wonder why some people do it? I mean if you´re an athlete, ok. But if you´re just an average Joe who wants to feel good in your body then I don´t really see the point, unless you truly enjoy it.
We all know that exercise plays an integral part in staying fit and healthy but as with food, I believe it´s all about finding the right balance! And as with food, our choice of exercise comes down to our personal preferences. While some people may really enjoy being pushed to the limit and having the occasional puke, others may not enjoy it so much... I have experimented with both ends of the spectrum and this is what I have learnt:
- The best exercise is the exercise you actually enjoy
- Don´t exercise for the sole sake of “burning calories”. Exercise should be about making your body feel good by keeping it strong, flexible and sexy! If you want to lose weight, address your diet. No amount of exercise will make up for a bad diet.
- It´s not because you don´t push your body to its limits that you won´t see results. That´s just b…shit. If anything, pushing yourself to the limit may result in injury. Exercising with restraint and listening to your body and its limits is smart, and does not make you a pussy.
- Exercising doesn´t have to involve going to the gym or using any fancy equipment. A walk around the park, getting off the bus a few stops early or doing a few stretches when you wake up still counts as exercise!
- Exercise should make your body feel better, not worse. By that I mean that it should make you feel stronger, more flexible, mobile and energized, not all beaten up and battered!
- Variety is the spice of life… Doing different types of exercises will benefit your body and your mind in different ways. Ideally you want to be doing a bit of cardio, a bit of strengthening and some stretching every week.
- Less is sometimes more. If you´re spending hours training and not getting the results you want, you may simply be overdoing it. Reduce your sessions or incorporate some Yoga for a week or two and see how it makes you feel.
- Stretching is exercise! You´d be amazed at how beneficial stretching is to your body! If there´s one thing you shouldn´t skip, it´s stretching!
- If something doesn´t feel right, stop. I know it´s sometimes difficult in the heat of the moment when the trainer is telling you to push harder but if it doesn´t feel right, listen to your body and back off!
- Exercise from a place of love… Ok so without wanting to sound too hippy here, consider the thoughts that are going through your mind when you are exercising. If they come from a place of hate and that you are somehow using exercise to punish yourself (this may seem like a weird concept for those who have never experienced it…) then try dig a little deeper to understand where this is coming from and address it. Your body doesn´t deserve to be beaten up only because you are unhappy in certain areas of your life. Use exercise as a form of self-love and think of movement as a way to nurture your body, not as a way to destroy it!
Again, exercise is a very personal thing and only YOU will know what you enjoy and what feels good on your body. And while it´s great to get inspiration and tips from others, don´t let it distract you from your own path. Stick to what feels good for YOU and listen to your body! It´s YOUR vessel for LIFE and the only place YOU have to LIVE so listen to it and treat it with care!