Bulldog lying on a blue deck
Exercise Psychology

Exercise Ain’t Torture. It’s Self-Love

When it feels like your only salvation is Netflix and instant pizza it is easy to pass on a workout. Then another. Once more and your body forgets what fitness even feels like. Life happens and exercise cannot always be a priority. But if that is the case then why do so many of us regret not sticking with a health and fitness routine? On the other hand, does anybody know somebody who regrets being in shape?

What Is Exercise…Really?

Deep down we know it isn’t the gym we are skipping, an early morning run, or our evening yin yoga routine that eases stress and gives us wonderful sleep. Nope, ignoring fitness is giving up on yourself one day at a time. And the body knows this if we know how to listen: pain, disease, depression or anxiety, poor sleep and poorer sex lives are common symptoms of an underactive body.

Despite what the Silicon Valley technocrats think, we are not robots or computers. Even if our bodies are super advanced machines, we have nothing in common with electronic boxes sitting on a desk all day needing only a power outlet to function. We are made to move…just a quirk of creation I suppose.

I feel better with that sci-fi rant out of the way. Thanks for bearing with me as I refocus this article.

It Starts With Your Head

Macro means big and micro means small. Skipping a workout is a micro aspect of your lifestyle; working out 3 times per week over the next 8 weeks to reverse type 2 diabetes is a macro one. When it comes to fitness a lot of macro goals go something like this:

“I need to drop 15 pounds before next month’s social function”

“I hate my body and the idea of a gym membership gives me hope”

“Muscles get chicks”

Somewhere, somehow exercise became a chore to please others, attract a partner, numb the anxiety of health negligence. No wonder people hate it so much.

Love Yourself Dammit

Exercise is not punishment and why create stress over seeing it as another “to do” on the old to-do list? Movement is a gift we can give our bodies for allowing us to exist in this world as something solid. Would you rather be a ghost, a shadow, or a dandelion seed floating in the wind? A jellyfish? Maybe a Wi-Fi signal? Our body lets us do physical work, so let’s do some physical work.  Why? Because being alive and well is a blessing. Don’t believe me? Try getting eaten by a boa constrictor…

dandelion in the wind
Hey wait, this looks really peaceful

Viewing exercise as self-care is a transformational shift. And it is an honest assessment. Movement is a tune-up for body and mind. A way of showing gratitude for your human vessel. Love is a verb, an action, making exercise a fantastic high-energy way to send love to yourself.

Think for a minute how good it feels to be loved. Your partner or pet dog, a child or a parent. Contrast that with feeling unloved. Rejection is the ugliest feeling in existence. Think how important your relationship with your body is…and can be, when you consider the power of love and acceptance.

The Solution

Before you skip a workout tell yourself I am committed to my health. Then ask yourself Why.  

When it comes to the gym, yoga, healthful eating, stretching, juicing veggies, or doing anything else that is good for you but you don’t want to do, ask why I am doing this? This question activates your neocortex: the thinking, planning, rational part of the brain that wants you to win. So take a deep breath and imagine your fittest, healthiest, most in control you. This vision of your highest self is the product of self-discipline that comes from being in harmony with yourself mind, body, and spirit. See, an exercise routine is more than a way to feel good or change your body; it is a tangible way to change your relationship with yourself. And if you happen to be the selfless type and see no benefit from self-care, try it and see how it improves your relationships with others, and ultimately the whole world.

5 thoughts on “Exercise Ain’t Torture. It’s Self-Love”

    1. That is awesome Priscilla. I want to see everybody making this shift in thinking. No more thinking health is just about naturally liking exercise (from birth) or that it is just a matter of sticking with it until it’s a new habit. No way, nothing’s better than getting to a point where you crave doing good stuff for yourself

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