30 days of self love – exercise

Posted: September 10, 2010 at 8:15 am

Happy Friday! :D I hope you all have fabulous weekends of either fun or relaxation awaiting you. I look forward to a massage and UGA game. I’ll still be around here blogging about self-love, so stop by and share your thoughts if you can. For now…today’s post!

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We cannot deny that part of loving ourselves fully comes with loving our bodies. We have already discussed the importance of appreciating what our bodies can do for us as well as avoiding the trap of idolizing them. How do all these thoughts and ideals play out in practice though? Exercise, if approached considerately, plays a significant role in helping us achieve self-love.

First of all, we need to take a closer look at what we classify as exercise. It does not only consist of running, taking intense fitness classes, doing yoga, or lifting weights. In my mind, exercise simply means movement of the body with a health benefit. So walking to and from work, dancing around your living room, chasing around your kids, strolling through a new city while sightseeing, hiking with friends, and so many other activities count as exercise. Just because we don’t visit a gym, a running trail, a yoga studio, or that area of our house marked off for our Insanity DVDs doesn’t negate our physical activity.

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We must also keep a few other things in mind when discussing exercise. The number one reason to spend time “working on our fitness” (as Fergie would say) is simply that. To work on our fitness. Our health. The benefits it provides our bodies. We need to love our cardio workouts first and foremost for strengthening our cardiovascular systems. We need to  love our lifting sessions for the extra bone density it builds and strength for everyday living. We need to love our yoga for the flexibility it provides our muscles to protect themselves and the ease of mind that reduces stress. We need to appreciate exercise for the endorphins to enjoy life, the appropriate hormonal levels to aid sleep and focus, and the additional strength at combating chronic diseases. Forget the smaller pants size and nicer arms. Exercise helps give you a better life to enjoy your body and all of its gifts! How could we even forget that?

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Having fitness related goals also can spark motivation, determination, and strength in an individual. Working towards an exercise involved goal is not a bad thing. In fact, it can promote self-love by uplifting a person and helping display admirable characteristics he or she might otherwise have ignored. While we must always be cautious of letting any goal consume our lives, we should take pride in our fitness accomplishments. Find something you truly enjoy and let it help the awesomeness of you shine through. Take caution to keep fitness related goals fun and then reap the positive rewards.

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As you can see, exercise has a lot of power to either strengthen us physically and mentally or wear us down in those ways as well. Our perspective and focus on exercise determine which happens to us. Do we take notice of all the fabulous things we do for our  health physically? Can we appreciate them even if not in the traditional workout setting? Do we enjoy our fitness activities and goals? Do we refrain from losing focus on life as a whole in pursuit of those goals? Let exercise fulfill you, not control you.

Has exercise ever controlled your life or defined you in a negative way? What ways can/do you pursue fitness for health and a stronger sense of self? I know when I trained for my fitness competition I allowed that goal to eclipse other areas of my life and lost respect of myself in the process. Realigning my focus to pursue fitness as something I love and to better my health made me feel strong and positive. In the future, I will still have fitness goals to give me something to be proud of, but will not allow them to overshadow  myself as a whole.

Quotes to Reflect On
Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.  ~
Carol Welch

Exercise is a dirty word.  Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.  ~Author Unknown (just because its Friday and it made me laugh) :)

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88 Comments to “30 days of self love – exercise”
  1. When I was supposed to be training for my first Try-A-Tri I rebelled against myself and didn’t train. I put too much pressure on myself, and was not having any fun with my workouts. Now that the Tri is over, I am back in the groove of working out to have fun, and keep my body strong. All the added bonuses (weight loss and inches lost) that come along with the workouts are just added advantages to the workouts.

    Check out what I had to say on my blog:

    http://www.mirandasjeans.com/?p=4086

  2. Wonderful topic! I haven’t had much time to read these deep posts lately, so I’m off to go catch up now.

    I guess I just wanted to give a little feedback in that it is a wonderful project you have undertaken, but it is hard to find time daily to contemplate deep thoughts such as these. I notice a lot of the blogs I read have deep, intense posts every once in awhile, but mix it in with breezy posts.

    Anyway, keep up the good work! The posts are beautifully written, but I can’t keep up with the quickness of the posts, I guess is what I’m trying to say. Hope this feedback is okay.

  3. Cynthia says:

    A couple years ago when I was trying to lose weight, I would exercise about 2 hours a day six days a week. I wasn’t exercising to be healthy or for fun. I was doing it more as a way to punish my body. I became really addicted to it just to keep losing more and more weight, I thought I was being healthy, but I really wasn’t.

  4. [...] Posted on September 10, 2010 by tarynehanson Today’s topic for 30 Days of Self Love is yet another one I’m working on. The thing about exercise is, I [...]

  5. Ela says:

    What a great topic!
    Here’s my blog about it – as I say in the blog, I have an inferiority complex around exercise, and tend to push myself too hard – and am just learning and getting motivated not to do that!

    http://tiny.cc/a2t7e

    Hope you had a great Friday.
    love
    Ela

  6. Eliza says:

    Sometimes I get into the mindset of thinking about how many calories I’ve burned when I’m doing an activity. What bothers me about this is that these are things I love to do- playing soccer, hiking, skiing, and instead of fulling enjoying the activity, the moment, for what it is, I waste energy thinking about calories burned (and often bargain with myself with food once I’ve figured out calories burned).
    I hate this mindset. I know that I feel better when I’m active everyday. This is pretty hard with my schedule, but I need to make an effort to do it. I was thinking maybe I would try walking instead of running sometimes, just to really get into a “health” mind not a “burning calories” mind. Using exercise to relax instead of as a daily thing I have to do would be good, but that would mean walking or stretching slowly for me- I love running but when I’m exhausted it is the last thing I want to do.

  7. Jolene says:

    This is such a good topic – and I definitely have gotten caught up in OVER exercising because I think I “need” to or the only thing that qualifies as exercise is something that drenches me in sweat, which isn’t always the case. I was at a point where I’d work out twice a day 2-3 days a week for that reason and that’s not healthy either. Good reminder to NOT get caught up in that, and it ties so much into balance great post!!

  8. homecookedem says:

    Oh yes, definitely exercise has a had a negative control over my life in the past. I used to be very OCD about the way I would exercise. I used to run a LOT. I would run in rain, in extreme heat, nothing could stop me. And I would have terrible guilt that would consume me if I ever had to stop to walk up a hill. Well since I wasn’t properly fueling either, it just made for a VERY cranky girl… all the time. I can even remember one time I started to get low blood sugar and I ignored it and kept going even though I was shaking and felt like I was going to pass out. By the time I got back and had to lay down on the floor and Andrew found me and was NOT happy with me.

    Now things are TOTALLY different!! I don’t even wear my HRM anymore b/c the only reason I was using it before was to see how many calories I was burning. Now I exercise for my health, my baby’s health, and so that labor/recovery might possibly be easier b/c of it. I want my heart to be healthy and I want to set a good example for my little boy so he enjoys being active as well. I think taking family walks and playing in the backyard together will become my workouts once he’s big enough! :)

  9. Susan says:

    I actually read this post the other day, but I wanted to make sure I came back and commented! I hate to admit it, but up until recently I used exercise as a means to justify some of the foods I ate. “Oh, I ran 5 miles, an extra 200 calories of cookies is allowed.” Yes, I wanted to be fit and healthy, but exercise and food were one and the same in my brain. Now I am working really hard to separate the two. Food does not = exercise, and exercise does not = food. I need to make separate choices for each. One thing I’ve started doing is I stopped wearing a heart rate monitor. I no longer know or care about how many calories I burn in a workout. That number does not dictate what I do or don’t eat over the course of the day. It’s helping me feel better about my body too :)

    • Tina says:

      When I was training for my competition I wore one of those Go Wear Fit things. It totally got me in the mindset of exercise = food. Not good! They should be two separate things. They may both play a large role in healthy living but one does not equal the other. That’s what leads to the all or nothing mentality for me as well.

  10. Exercise used to be part of my ED. I overdid it to make up for all the food I was binging on. In recovery I gave it up so taht I could focus on being healthy.

    No although I miss exercise when I can’t do it or have to reschedule for something else I don’t get depressed and beat myself up for missing a run or a ride. It makes me feel better now and not worse.

  11. Deborah says:

    Hi all

    Have to admit to feeling a little blah today. I shouldn’t as I had a 2kg loss this week taking my total for the 6.5 weeks (on the program I’m on) to 12kg. So.. you know, yay! And all of that. Meanwhile… still feeling blah.

    Thinking back to a time a time when exercise controlled my life was fairly easy for me as a former anorexic. And writing about it reminded me of why I now hate boot camp type shuttle runs (and the like) so much!

    http://dietschmiet.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/30-days-day-10-how-to-view-exercise/

    Deb

  12. [...] It’s Day 10 of the Faith, Fitness, Fun 30 days series already!!  I had to go back and count to make sure I hadn’t missed anything because these 10 days have gone sooo fast!!  But sure enough, it really IS day 10!!  And the theme of Day 10′s reflection is Exercise and reflecting on when/if exercise has ever ruled your life.  To reflect on this, let me take you back in time a bit and tell you a little bit more about my history with exercise…. [...]

  13. [...] – Today’s Reflection on self love is about exercise. Tina asks: “Has exercise ever controlled your life or defined you in a negative way? What ways can/do [...]

  14. Xandria says:

    Recently I’ve been a health fanatic to trim a few extra of my curves down a bit. :P I don’t need to. I need to enjoy exercise more for what it is: a way to keep my body as healthy as it already is.

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