We all know that exercise is good for you and you should be doing it.
One of the key ways of thinking that has changed the way I look at exercising and moving my body, is the thought that exercise is a way to celebrate your body, not a form of punishment. However, a lot of the time, people do view exercise as a form of punishment or a difficult task. Something you have to have motivation for. I’m hoping to change that thought process, and shift your view towards the idea that exercise and movement is celebration of what your body can do.
Start thinking about something new.
First, I understand, that for most, exercise is not fun. Going to the gym and sweating your face off, is not how you want to spend your time. I get this. It took me a long time to actually start enjoying going to the gym, and working out, and sometimes, I still don’t want to do it. So, if this is you I want you to know you are not alone. I also want you to start thinking about new ways to get your body moving aside from the gym and standard workouts.
Make it fun.
Find something fun to do that requires movement, but doesn’t necessarily feel like a “workout”. Take your dog for a walk, and maybe get a little jogging in. Grab a soccer ball, and walk to the park with your kid, kick the ball around. Go to your local rock climbing centre, and go rock climbing. Move your body in a way that celebrates what you are capable of, rather then “sweating your face off” at the gym. Try doing this at least twice a week. Once you’ve managed to find out what you enjoy, then on top of it if you can, try incorporating some gym or “workout” sessions.
Is motivation standing in your way?
“I don’t have motivation to workout.” The most common excuse I hear about working out is, a lack of motivation. If this is your only reason that you aren’t working out, you are taking your body and capabilities for granted. Not to be blunt, however, if you really think about it, it holds truth.
You have to think deeper then body image, weight loss, and being healthy.
This might come across as depressing or negative, however, I want you to take a moment to think about those people who are unable to perform all the types of movement that you are capable of. Or, that you got into an accident tomorrow and all of a sudden you can’t walk. How upset would you be with yourself if you never took the chance to celebrate your capabilities when you could. Honestly, whenever I don’t want to work out, or don’t feel like moving my body, I think this way. It might be depressing to some, however to me, it’s a reminder of how lucky I am to be able to do the things I can do. It also pushes me to want to be as strong as I can possibly be. This idea helps keeps me motivated when I simply remind myself to be grateful for my body and what I can do with it. It reminds me to celebrate exercise, not to look at it like a difficult task.
A quote often heard…
“Working out is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate.”
This is very easy for someone to say when they have been exercising for a while, and/or have self-confidence. It’s not so easy for those who are looking to make changes that may include weight or body shape. I’m not one to preach about losing weight or to change your body, however if you are not happy with the way you look, I know it can be difficult to focus on the way you feel.
It’s a bit of a catch 22 here, because learning body confidence is a struggle, and for me it’s an ongoing struggle. I have days where I’m super happy with my body, how I feel, and loving every bit of myself! Then I have days where I feel bloated, icky, and know that my eating and exercise routine is out of whack.
For the most part, I am confident in my body and how I look. It wasn’t always this way, and at the beginning of my exercise or fitness journey, body image was my main source of motivation. However, over the years it has shifted, from body image to celebration of body capabilities.
More than just body image.
If body image is a large part of why you want to make a shift into a more active lifestyle and exercise routine, there’s nothing wrong with that. I just encourage you to not allow this to be your only source of motivation. I encourage you to think about how exercise is celebrating your body’s ability because if body image is the only thing driving you, it will often fade. It fades quickly a lot of the time because progress can be slow and hard to see daily. However, celebrating your body and what your body can do is something that never fades!
Part of this has come with time and practice over the years. Being diligent with exercising. Going on the days that I didn’t want to go, and making sure that I set goals for myself and I am constantly trying to improve. My improvement goals rarely have anything to do with the way I look, however what my body can do.
Strive for progress not perfection.
It’s important to strive for progress and not perfection. This can look like many things, but a large part of it is taking a look at the positives you had that day or week rather than the negatives. For example:
“I have no time to get enough workouts in, I only made it to the gym this week twice.”
Change this too:
“Even though I was so busy this week, I still managed to workout 3 times.”
If you can continuously find the positives to take away from your day, rather than negatives or put downs, you can start to change your thinking in a way that allows you to be happy with the progression you are making towards celebrating movement.
Celebrate your body.
It’s a long journey to finding self-confidence, however, the celebrating what your body can do part is a lot simpler. Focus on celebrating movement, learning to be grateful for your body and what your body can achieve, exercising regularly because you can, not because you “have too”. This is the type of mindset that will shift your thinking about exercise. Which will actually keep you wanting to exercise long term. The focus is not on how you look, however how you feel, and simply being grateful for what you are able to accomplish.