Social media is flooded with people who love to share their love of exercise, pictures of their own abs and their ability to run long distances with fluorescent shoes and matching tights. I always feel overwhelmed – gees I don’t have a six pack to flaunt and I don’t have a this elusive ‘thigh gap’ all the fitness gurus rage about.
But does this mean I am not fit? Does this mean that I am not healthy? And most importantly does this mean I don’t exercise enough?
I’m sure at some point you have felt inferior to someone who talks about how healthy and exercise driven they are. I have.
The truth is – you don’t need to be stick thin and an exercise junkie to be healthy. And certainly the Australian National Heart Foundation Guidelines are happy with adults achieving 150 to 300 minutes of exercise per week so why isn’t that enough?
We need to stop seeing exercise as a burden. We need to stop trying to compete with our own brains and its major goals its puts on us (e.g. ‘I want to be able to run 15 kilometres in the next 6 weeks’).
We exercise to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity. We exercise to reduce our risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. We exercise because evidence has shown it is good for mental health and is beneficial in conditions like Depression. It’s also helpful in fibromyalgia (a disorder where people suffer from diffuse muscle pain and fatigue). We exercise for OURSEVLES.
I don’t see it as a burden anymore. When I walk my dogs with my husband it’s about us all being healthy and getting some activity into our day. When I have a quick 30 minute kick boxing session on the verandah before dinner its because I need to build up my minutes of exercise for the week and because it will make me feel better about my day.
I think about banking my exercise – I need to make it to 300 minutes (as per the National Heart Foundation guidelines) by Sunday so every minute I do gets banked towards it. THAT is MY motivator.
I’ve stopped trying to measure up to the unrealistic expectations of fitness in the media– I don’t need a six pack to know I am healthy. I don’t need to be a size 6 to know that I am doing enough.
Its not for anyone else – its for you.
Build exercise into your life in whatever capacity suits you- whether its walking the dogs, swimming, pilates, cycling…. And make sure you are doing it for you – and for the right reasons – the six pack might be the unexpected outcome of your exercise endeavors but it is by far the least important – it’s the benefits to your health that count!