We're constantly bombarded by fitness messaging that promises if we do "x" class or "y" routine or join "z" gym, we'll lose weight or bulk up or whatever "tone" means. In light of all this manipulative mumbo jumbo, it's reasonable to assume the point of exercise is to alter the way we look — reasonable, but not true.
We don't have to change our bodies. We are worthy and valuable and beautiful exactly the way we are, and exercise is a way to celebrate that. It's an outlet for self expression and a means of centering ourselves in the present. It's a way to relieve stress, improve mood, boost energy, and promote resilience. Movement is a powerful force for holistic wellbeing, so there are countless reasons to engage in it, many of which have nothing to do with how we look.
Some exercise because it offers precious moments of groundedness in an otherwise hectic life. Others because it builds self efficacy and confidence. Whatever your reason, we want you to know: It's valid, it matters, and it deserves support.
We've all heard some version of: "I've gotta hit the gym to work off all that dessert I ate." Or: "I let myself go this weekend. I need to burn some calories off at spin." Or: "If you don't listen to me, you're going to run hills." We've been conditioned to view exercise as a punishment for "bad" behavior from a young age, so it's no wonder many of us dread it.
But the practice of using exercise as a penalty is very problematic, especially because the behavior it's often used to "atone" for isn't bad: Eating dessert, going out to a restaurant with friends — these things aren't wrong. Quite the opposite: They're important parts of enjoying life! You know what else can be enjoyable? Exercise.
When it involves being forced to do something against your will at an intensity you're not ready for, of course, exercise is a drag. But when it gives you the opportunity to move in a way that makes you feel empowered, centered, more energetic, and happier, it's uplifting.
Exercise is only a punishment if the way you're going about it is punishing. And there are soooo many other ways to go about it.
Saying that someone is "bad" at exercise is like saying someone is "bad" at being a human. It just doesn't make sense. Exercise is movement, and all bodies are made to move. Nobody can be better or worse at doing something we're all built to do.
Just as there are infinite ways of being human, there are infinite ways of moving. If you don't enjoy your current exercise routine, that doesn't mean you're not good at exercising. It simply means a particular kind of movement isn't your jam, so you may want to try another.
No matter what kind of movement you engage in, it will feel challenging at times. So long as those challenges are appropriate, they'll be opportunities for you to realize you're a badass. Exercise isn't a competition against others, it's a journey of self discovery.
In fact, it can be the activity you most look forward to in your week. Exercise can be an outlet for self expression and a chance to prove you're capable of much more than you thought possible. It can be a time to connect with a supportive community of friends, or it can be time to connect with yourself. If your movement practice involves hiking, walking, running, cycling, climbing, or the like, it can be a way to immerse yourself in the natural world.
When exercise consists of movement you find engaging in a setting you find uplifting, it can be YOU time. And if you want to get YOU time at a welcoming, body positive gym committed to making fitness fun, click here to learn more about Clarity.