For the fun!
Trigger warning: Exercise, weight loss
About a week ago, it seemed everybody on my friend’s list on Facebook was posting this meme:
Yes, I know.
There is this perception, in the US at least, that the only reason anybody would want to “eat healthy and exercise” is to lose weight.
This is a punishment model. Rather than eating healthy, nutrient-rich food that tastes great for the health benefits of it, we primarily eat it to lose weight in this culture. Instead of moving our bodies (i.e., exercise) for the simple joy of moving our bodies, we only “torture” ourselves to lose weight in this culture.
I’m sure you’ve heard as often as I have that the machines at the gym look like modern takes on medieval torture devices. The idea of “no pain, no gain” perpetuates the idea that exercise is not only not enjoyable, but is also an actual punishment. Yes, if one is wanting to build muscle mass, one does need to tear down some muscle, so it can heal and build itself up. That’s the “burn.” It’s not pain though. One should never have to push oneself to feeling sick from exercise (I’m looking at you, Biggest Loser).
Barring physical disabilities that restrict movement (and for “physical disabilities,” I’m including anything that makes a body not move well, whether it’s from a chronic pain condition, paralysis, old age that makes you not as limber as you used to be, or any other reason), our bodies were made to move. Have you ever watched little children at play? They run, just because they can. They create games that involve jumping and crawling and skipping. Sometimes their preferred method of moving from one place to another is hopping.
I propose a new idea to look at both food and exercise: let’s do it because we enjoy it. Because we can. Because it’s FUN!
Okay, it’s not really new. I’ve been saying this for a while, and so have other folks. But really, forget the punishment. Exercise for the fun of it. If you can, ride a bike, go for a walk in a park, play lazer tag, go roller skating. If you can’t do something that active, find something that you might be able to do — chair dance to your favorite music. Find an activity that you love to do, and do it when you can. Just because it’s fun.
Another meme I’ve seen going around reads:
Exercise should be about rewarding the body with strength and endorphins, not about punishing your body for what you’ve eaten.
And fun. Let’s never forget the fun!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to take my dog for WALKIES!!