Maybe Working Out isn’t What You Need Right Now: Exercise isn’t always the first step to getting fit

TDB Fitness Newsletter 3/13/2022

People often jump into working out as a solution to their mental and physical health problems. Although everyone needs physical activity, a workout routine is usually only one small piece of a healthy lifestyle.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

The Big Picture

Living a holistically healthy lifestyle includes physical activity for most people. However, we live in a diet culture that uses marketing to convince us the fitness industry is the answer to all of our needs. We are led to believe that working out and dieting will improve everything from our self esteem, to our life expectancy. The truth is, health and wellness are much more complicated than the number on the scale, or the size of our clothing.

When we attempt to use fitness as a solution to problems it can’t fix, we typically fail to establish sustainable fitness habits. Sometimes feeling drawn to starting a new fitness plan could be an indicator that you need to make desperate changes in your life in some area. Maybe a fitness plan will even be beneficial for you down the line. However, it’s important to reflect on and address the core of our health needs, and sometimes fitness has nothing to do with it.

If you have a personal history of failed attempts to establish a healthy lifestyle by committing to a fitness routine, maybe it’s time to start thinking beyond fitness. Identifying that you have an unfulfilled need is only step one. It’s also important to do some self reflection and identify exactly what that need is. Then you can make the most appropriate plan for addressing it. When approaching the challenge of serious lifestyle changes, consider the following:

Could therapy help? Oftentimes people seeking personal fitness training are really looking for emotional support. Our society imparts body image issues onto all of us from a young age, with differing degrees of severity depending on our differing identities. We are taught to believe that looking a certain way will make us feel happy, fulfilled, loved, and worthy. However, the physical ideals we chase aren’t always possible for our bodies. Furthermore, many people who have achieved those physical ideals do not feel happy, fulfilled, loved, or worthy. Because some things really just have nothing to do with your physical appearance.

Who are you going to for health advice? Where are you getting your info? Is it from someone trying to sell you something? Does the person giving you advice have your best interest at heart? What does your gut tell you? Just because someone is a doctor doesn’t mean we can always trust them. Fatphobia is a real part of our medical industry. Celebrities selling products are looking to make money, not thinking about your health. Making wise choices and advocating for ourselves when it comes to who’s advice we follow is one way we can take back control over our wellness.

What does “healthy” actually look like for you and your body? Everybody and every body is different. We all have different health needs based on a combination of genetics and environment. One of the many problems in our diet and fitness industry is we use looks as the most important indicator for health. That is simply not accurate. Physical appearance, especially size, is one small part of a much larger picture of overall health.

How much exercise do you need? Maybe you can’t get yourself to commit to going to the gym because you’re pushing yourself to go much more than you need. Not all of us have to train like professional athletes in order to live physically active and healthy lives. Building habits based on what is actually necessary to support your health is much more sustainable than trying to reach a physical ideal that isn’t right for your body.

If working out consistently hasn’t stuck for you, that’s ok! Maybe taking a different approach to lifestyle changes is what you need for the time being. That doesn’t mean you’ll never work out. You may even feel completely different about working out once you take the pressure off of it being the silver bullet that will fix all your problems. Living a healthy, fulfilling life takes so much more than a successful fitness routine. Try not to lose sight of the big picture.

Team Announcements

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Take a look at our updated packages page! TDBFitness is a small business from Ypsilanti, MI. We offer in person and virtual fitness plans, individualized goal setting, and lifestyle coaching.

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