I love being active, taking walks, hiking, kayaking, gardening, strength training, and taking exercise classes (I’m not picky). I also know how important exercising can be. I mean, exercise can improve your health regardless of your weight, health status, diseases, etc. But besides being a dietitian I’m also a real person. Even if I like exercising it’s not top on my priority list. Anyone with me?! After all is said and done during the day many times exercise is just one more thing. One more thing to put on my to-do list and sometimes I just can’t.
But I have been. I have been putting it on my priority list and you know what, it
feels good. Do I do it every day? Nope, that’s not the point. I don’t need to do it every day to know I’m doing something awesome for myself a few times per week. I’m doing it not to lose weight or to look better in a bikini (although those would be nice side effects). I’m doing it because it makes me feel good and strong and empowered and energized.
Listen, you don’t need to buy the newest greatest exercise/nutrition program. You don’t need to go to the trendiest gym and drink the most expensive shakes. You don’t have to listen to some not-so-expert tell you that just a few more crunches and these wonder drinks will make you a better person. You don’t even have to step on a scale and sweat until you feel like dying to be healthy. This I know. I want to tell you this because there’s a lot of mixed messages out there.
If exercise is something you want to do for yourself then do it for you. Don’t do it because the summer is coming. Don’t do it because you feel inadequate around people who do exercise. Don’t do it because someone told you you should. Do it for YOU!
Here’s why I’m exercising more:
- It’s me time. I get up early and I’m alone and I get to walk or lift or listen to music. It’s something I can do on my own terms for myself and it’s so peaceful!
- I feel stronger. I’m a small human being. If I’m small in stature, I at least want to be strong. I like not having to ask someone to lift something or open something or move something.
- I feel empowered. Seeing improvements in my stamina and strength is cool. I like that and it makes me feel like Sheerah. It’s different than feeling stronger…it’s more of how I feel mentally than how I feel physically.
- It’s showing my kids that it’s important to be active. I don’t care if they are athletic, I care that they are active. I want them to see mom as a person who enjoys being active. Are you seeing that “active” is the theme?
- I want my insides to be healthy. I know from years of education and reading research how amazing moderate physical activity is for your health. I know this and I want that for myself. I want to treat my heart, lungs, and other organs and cells with respect not only in my diet but also in my activity level.
Listen, I’ve had 3 kids and 2 are twins. I don’t care if I have my 20 year old body back. Seriously. Sure it’d be cool and whatever but honestly I just don’t care that much. Exercising for body image is fine if that’s your deal but as someone who is trained in intrinsic (internal motivation) health coaching, I will tell you that exercising for the sole purpose of body image won’t change your lifestyle forever…that’s not sustainable. What is sustainable is finding what you want out of exercising…beyond your body image.
Having a partner or a few partners who will encourage your activity is super helpful. For me, my family is made up of active people…seriously active people. My mom, sister, and husband are my immediate motivators. My mom and I walk a lot and like to try out exercise classes. My sister and I are in the free Tone It Up 8 week Challenge and we check up on each other. My husband and I like to walk together when we can…we also watch the kids while the other is exercising. Pick up some accountability partners!
Enjoy it. Do something you enjoy. Walking, biking, hiking, swimming, running, jumping, dancing, whatever! Find something you like to do and do it. Figure out why you want to be active…dig deep. Once you grab a hold of those reasons and make it a lifestyle.