Exercising, working out, keeping fit: that’s all part of adulting, isn’t it? To watch what we eat, keep our calories in check, burn off your carbohydrates? That’s all we talk about, anyways. But in this post, let’s talk about taking care of our physical healths for us. For our happiness and peace of mind. To take care of our bodies — the only one we get. I don’t think we talk about it enough; the focus is so much on keeping fit and healthy (which is great!) that we forget about the benefits it brings to our daily lives and mental health.
Let’s face it: the whole idea of working out to simply keep the calories off is very daunting. It perpetuates this idea that the sole purpose of exercising is to suffer in order to reach your goal. A while back, I took up a 7-month internship that required me to come in at odd hours. As a result, I didn’t get enough sleep, any exercise, or much of a social life going for that matter. It also managed to instil a fear of exercising in me, which was completely foreign to me. I started fearing the gym — even home work-outs — in case I wasn’t fit enough after 7 months as if there was a standard to have before you could work out. It’s a negative mindset that continues to give way to more continuity. If you can’t do something as simple as exercising, then what else can’t you do?
The lack of, or fear of exercising spills over to other parts of our lives, and has a significance that’s greater than just your physical health. There’s an unsaid, under-rated result on your mental health and stability. We’re so caught up in our work, families, and social lives that we don’t give ourselves enough time. And even if we do, who wants to spend it on… exercising? Yucks.
Let me change that for you. We’re so connected via social media, and all social media shows us are fitness trainers and extremely motivated gym-goers. There’s something social media doesn’t show us, though. Not only are a majority of people worldwide suffering from a lack of exercise, but women also tend to get less exercise than men due to lifestyles and societal commitments. That means there’s a lot more of people out there who are in the same boat as us, which is one of the most important things to remember so you don’t feel alone.
Take the First Step
It’s because we feel alone in our exercising endeavours that we’re hesitant to take the first step. There are more people struggling in the gym than you expect; there are more people struggling in that spin-class you’ve been wanting to take — so although the fear of being judged is common, the likelihood of anyone judging you for having a difficult time is really, really low.
If exercising in social settings makes you anxious, then aren’t you glad we live in a time where YouTube exists? There are numerous routines you could find on it. Are you short of time? Or are you out of practice? There’s something for everyone. From 10-minute work-outs, to work-outs for beginners, to 10-minute work-outs for beginners, there’s an abundance of options for everyone. And remember, it’s completely fine if you can’t stick to the entire routine, as long as you try! The goal of starting to exercise is not to beat yourself down for being unable to accomplish certain goals, but for being proud of yourself for being able to do everything you have done thus far.
If you’ve been wanting to take a class and attending it alone daunts you, find a friend, family member or partner to bring with you! Alternatively, if the pressure of having someone you know with you feels overwhelming, go alone! Who knows, you might just end up with some new friends who understand where you’re coming from. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring and monotonous like running on a treadmill, there are dance classes, cycling groups, and hiking groups you can find all over the internet.
As mentioned, exercising is more than just the up-keeping of your physical health. Chemically, exercising releases feel-good hormones (endorphins and enkephalins) into your bloodstream, leaving you feeling better after your work-out.
However, there’s more than that. There’s the presence of an activity that distracts you from the stressful or busy life you may lead. Sure, it may only be 20, 30, or 50 minutes of your entire day, but in that time you are solely focused on this activity, leaving your mind rested for a while. Going outdoors to exercise, or joining classes with multiple people makes you interact with your environment in ways you otherwise wouldn’t, as well.
Today you might do 5 push-ups. Tomorrow you might do 10. The next day you might push yourself to do 15. Albeit slightly, there is a confidence you gain by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s often said that change is uncomfortable, but change is human nature. Believe it or not, we, as humans, are constantly changing. What better way to do so than to push ourselves to do more, even by just a bit? You’ll discover your limits are set by you, and you can really achieve anything you put your mind to, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in terms of exercising.