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I hate working out.
I really do.
I know I'm not alone in my sentiments...
The whole thing is just ridiculous to me. If the fitness market had its way, we'd all be buying overpriced leggings, new sneakers, tummy wraps, ankle weights, fancy bikes, metal barbells, water barbells, benches and so on every New Year just to end up doing damage to our knees, pulling muscles and sweating to death.
I'm a little jaded about it :-)
Physical Wellness is one of the areas in my life that I decided a while ago to do my way. I want to honor my body, not harm it. Squats and calisthenics are not for me. I have tried only to realize that I was making myself miserable in order to drop back down to a dress size that society says is acceptable. Health is wealth, but health comes in all sizes. I cannot undo the stretch marks and extra skin that are now present because I carried and birthed a whole human being. I felt like I was being pressured to always look like a Barbie for the enjoyment of men (who don't exactly look like Ken dolls themselves). It was a lot of pressure, so I rejected it. Life is challenging enough. There's certainly no need to add self-induced hunger or burpees to the list.
I've never been athletic. I didn't grow up as on outdoorsy kid. I also felt out of place in gyms. We all have to do what works best for us individually. If sports and intense activity is for you, then that's great! For me, however, physical wellness had to come in the form of natural movement and activity. I've seen other people buy into regimens that produce results, but the positive gains are only short term. For most people, those dramatic outcomes are not sustainable. I wanted wellness to be a way of life, not an elaborate project. So I switched my focus. I eat healthier, but I do treat myself. I also use The Daily Manifesto to track my water intake and movement throughout the day.
My top three preferred options for Physical Wellness are:
- Yoga. There are so many options in yoga. From simple stretches to muscle building poses, you can participate in a flow to fits your interests and needs without risking the health of your joints. Yoga layers in Spiritual Wellness through mediation and Social Wellness when you take group classes. Modifications abound for all body types and ranges of motion. Stretching is soooo important, especially in the context of aging (citation). Give yoga a try if it is not already one of your go-to practices. A quick search on YouTube will provide you with countless instructors to try out right from the comfort of your home.
- Walking. Although I'm not one for jumping jacks and circuit training, I do understand the importance of aerobic fitness. That's why I have embraced and advocate for walking as a form of exercise. As stated by the Mayo Clinic, "[p]hysical activity doesn't need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life" (citation). It's easy to achieve the minimum number of suggested minutes of exercise per week (150, or 30 minutes per day) by taking walks in your neighborhood. It's an awesome way to connect with nature as well and boost your Environmental Wellness.
- Dancing. Really, who doesn't like to dance? It's fun, it's social and it's a sneaky way to burn calories without having to run on a treadmill in a stinky gym. Brisk dancing can result in more that 300 calories being expended per half hour (citation). You can dance alone at home or (post-COVID) in a crowd. You can take lessons or freestyle. In addition to providing a ton of options for Social Wellness, dancing is also know to be beneficial for Emotional Wellness. Research shows that it helps reduce anxiety. So cut a rug!
Ask yourself:Am I making time for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise/intentional movement?
- Yes? Ok, then can I take on a stretch goal and increase the time for additional health benefits?
- No? What's holding me back? Have I just not found my Physical Wellness niche(s)?
Complete and post your Physical Wellness "This or That." Tag @mahoganymanifesto on Instagram: