I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while, and there’s no better time than after my first zumba class in a while, whilst I’m full of endorphins & wanting to talk about how great exercise is for our minds. This week, it’s mental health awareness week, and I’ve seen plenty of posts talking all about body image & how we feel about ourselves.
I’m going to start this off by saying I’m not perfect with accepting my body image, I’d love to be that little bit smaller, but the main thing for me, is that I want to feel comfortable, fit & healthy in my own body. Today may not be the best day to write this as I have fuelled my body with cake the last few days, following a cake sale at work, but eh it’s all about balance right? I’ve come back from a 45 minute zumba class & my mindset is x10 better than it was an hour or so before.. and that my friends is what I want to talk about.
The main question I think is: why do we exercise? Do you do it for you? The reason why I ask this, is that my relationship with exercise has been up & down, (I actually wrote one of my first blog posts on this:
https://theimlifex.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/fitness/ ). Since that blog post, my fitness routine has changed, I’ve got access to a gym, I’ve done weekly yoga classes, & I will begin training for a 15 mile walk, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve lost much weight, but I am definitely fitter & healthier than I was. Normally, if I was exercising regularly and not seeing much of a difference in weight, I’d become demotivated, and question if I was doing enough. But this year, I’ve noticed the change that exercise does to my mindset, especially if I’m feeling stressed – take today for example, I was tired & I could have most definitely sat and watched Netflix all evening (which is perfectly justified just to add!), but I just knew that I needed to move to get rid of all the stress. Zumba worked pretty well for that, I may have felt like I was nearly a professional Latin dancer, but I most definitely was not!!
So, in light of the body image theme for mental health awareness, I think we need to not be too hard on ourselves. Exercise because you want to, not because the voice in your head is telling you to burn off the calories you’ve consumed that day, no matter how much cake you ate. Exercise no matter what size/shape you are, take away the scales & measure progress based on how you feel, your fitness & your strength. It’s okay to have bad days, and to not want to exercise ~ accept those days & move on. Finally, ignore every comment someone makes about your size/fitness/strength etc & remember you are doing this for you, if you want to & when you want to, not for them.
By nourishing our bodies, knowing our capabilities & what makes us smile – we don’t have to be on a track to ‘lose the pounds’, we can be on an exercise journey, simply because we want to. Remember, #bebodykind ~ not just to others, but to yourself as well.