Reward Your Body with Exercise, Not Punish it
How do you feel about exercise? Do you enjoy it? Resent it? What do you find yourself thinking when you’re exercising? Is it positive? Or is it negative? Take a moment to really think about this, do you exercise to reward your body for all that it does for you? Or to punish it (whether that’s because of the food that you put into it, or for something that it cannot yet do)?
It is so important for us to be grateful for our bodies, and to celebrate them for what they allow us to do and achieve. They are truly amazing! How lucky are we to have bodies that are capable of so much?
We need to alter our beliefs and start to view exercise as something we do because we love and appreciate our bodies, not because they don’t look a certain way and want to change them.
Of course, wanting to see our bodies change from exercising is normal, and it feels amazing when we notice how our thighs are firmer, and our jeans fit better, but the best, and most important changes are those that happen on the inside, when we wake up in the morning full of energy, our minds are clearer, we don’t get worn out walking up the stairs.
This is the reason we should exercise, to reward our bodies with these amazing changes, to improve the health of our bodies, and ultimately our lives.
So how do we shift our perception, and alter our beliefs about exercise? How do we make it feel like a reward and not a punishment? There is no one size fits all, because we all think differently, and different things will work for different people, we are all unique individuals.
The first step in changing my perception was to sit down and really think about what exercise meant to me, why it was that I exercised, what my motivations were.
Through this exercise I learnt that my initial reasons for working out were all wrong, I had come to resent it, and dreaded working out. This was not a nice realisation, and I knew I needed to do something to change it.
I sat down and thought about all the changes I had noticed in myself since I began exercising on a regular basis, I felt happier overall, I had more energy, my mind felt clearer, I didn’t fall into a rut nearly as often, I felt more motivated and inspired by life, I felt stronger, I felt more capable, I felt proud of myself for achieving my physical goals. When I began my fitness journey, I couldn’t even do one push up and now I can do 20! How awesome is that?
I focused on these feelings and thought about how much exercising had improved my life, I decided that the reason I exercise regularly is because I love how it makes me feel! I love how happy and excited I am about life, I love how I have so much more energy, I love how my mind is clearer, I love how healthy and happy it makes me feel.
This is what matters to me, this is what is a priority for me.
How does exercise make you feel? How has it impacted your life? Think about this and come up with a list of your own, then using this list create new beliefs about exercise, and create new reasons for why you exercise.
Exercise should feel fun and enjoyable, it should make you feel powerful and strong, and feel grateful for the body you have.
Do you enjoy your workouts? Are your workouts motivating and inspiring you? Or are they boring you? If so, then it’s time to switch them up! Always go to the gym? Do a body weight exercise at the park. Run on the treadmill every day? Look up different running trails around you or just run around your neighborhood and explore.
Go for a bike ride outside, go for a swim, take your dog for a walk, take a different route, go rock climbing, learn a martial art, take a yoga class, have a dance party in the privacy of your own home. Whatever it is that excites you to get active, get moving in some way, challenge yourself to try one new method of exercise this week, and let me know in the comments what it was and how it made you feel, I can’t wait to hear.
After all exercise should add value to your life, not control it!
Of course, this is easier said than done, I still struggle with it sometimes, it is a process, all part of the journey to a healthier, happier life.