Recently, I’ve seen a lot of pictures shaming individuals who exercise. It’s become such a stereotyped niche and if you are part of the ‘world of work out‘, then you must be vain and too concerned about your body image.
Regardless if someone likes to exercise or not, the truth of the matter is: fitness is a much needed word in our vocabulary.
This is NOT about being skinny, or curvy, or muscular. Fitness is about being AWARE of YOURSELF. This includes your body, your mind, your spirit, and your HEALTH. This is the movement we should be promoting. It is a lifestyle. It’s not a trend or some come-and-go fad.
We need a change.
The definition of ‘fitness’ from dictionary.com literally says ‘health‘.
First off, for the everyday man and woman (someone who is not in the competitive fitness world), there is NO need for a scale. Two factors are extremely important: getting exercise and eating right. If you are doing these things, you don’t need a scale. Sometimes I find scales to be counterproductive in getting on the health train. It’s not about numbers on the scale, it’s about the numbers of your blood pressure, beats of your heart, cholesterol count, and glucose level. If you get those numbers in order, the rest will fall into place!
When it comes to food, choose wisely. There is always wiggle room to splurge, but just because you CAN eat fast food everyday, doesn’t mean you should. It’s not a privilege to be able to eat tons of fried, processed food and not gain weight. Anyone, petite to XXL shouldn’t live off of junk. That will come back to bite you in the behind, BIG TIME.
What men and women don’t realize is that what we do/don’t do and eat/don’t eat at a young age affects us in the future. I’m not impressed with how skinny you can stay while eating junk food. “You’re so lucky you can do that.” Wrong. Your arteries will disown you years down the line. Your cholesterol will be through the roof. Diabetes will come knocking at your door. This isn’t about image- it’s about health!
I also find the barrier of ‘health’ and ‘being proud of your body’ hard to define when it comes to men and women who are either obese or underweight. These are the two categories that come with many health issues. I completely support loving your body and feeling confident in your skin, but your health is always an important aspect to keep in mind. In fact, it should be your prerogative. Being overweight comes with a plethora of health risk factors: Cardiovascular Disease, stroke, hypertension (which is high blood pressure), depression, diabetes (type 2), sleep apnea, and other detrimental forms of abuse to your body. On the opposite side of the scale, being underweight comes with health risks as well: Cardiovascular Disease and diabetes (sound familiar?), anemia, lowered immune system, and osteoporosis. Bulimia and Anorexia come with even more added risks like cognitive issues and tooth decay. Even MORE factors that make all of these conditions worse is smoking, excess drinking, and you guessed it, lack of exercise.
Fitness isn’t just for ‘those crazy gym people.’ Fitness is for every health-seeking human being. Keeping track with a good diet and maintaining a 3-5 days a week/30 mins-1 hour workout routine will help deter all those dangerous risks mentioned above. And it doesn’t have to be all in one go! Most people do 3 x 10-15 mins of exercise throughout the day. It’s a nice way to break it up if your schedule doesn’t allow for a full 30 mins to an hour.
I am studying to be a Personal Trainer and I am a huge advocate in getting people ‘fit’, and fit should never be seen as strictly ‘muscular‘ or ‘skinny‘. I wish one day it will just be seen as healthy.
Whether you are any of these images, be it this…
or any other shape/size, as long as you are eating right and getting that heart rate going, you are doing yourself good!
So, I urge you, don’t see the word ‘fitness’ as a dirty one. It’s one that should empower you. It’s about your health. It’s about taking control of your LIFE.
If you don’t know where to start, seek help. I’m happy to answer questions. Find a gym near you and talk to a personal trainer. Can’t afford one? Try out a group session. Still too much? Check out the endless access available to you online about home work outs and other ways of getting that heart rate going. You could walk/jog around the neighborhood; you could swim; you could join a group of men or women in your community that do activities together; you can cycle; you can use bodyweight exercises.
The world is your gym!
Love, B. R. Wren
*This article is my own personal view. If there are individuals who feel differently, I am glad to hear your opinions! Let’s end body shaming and start looking towards a new way to help each other be in the best health we could ever imagine! Remember which numbers count!