No Need for Exercise: Your Personal Invitation
This is an invitation. It is for every kid chosen last for team sports. It is for all the tender hearts who view their bodies with disdain. It is for the New Years Resolutioners and the fad diet veterans. It’s for anyone who’s ever binged on junk food and felt out of control. This invitation is for those who meticulously count every calorie and limit themselves to 1200 or 800 or less. It’s for everyone who hears the word “exercise” and groans, grimaces or grits their teeth.
Take a deep breath. Focus on the inhale and the exhale. Maybe place one hand on your stomach and one on you heart. A smile wouldn’t hurt, but don’t force it.
Know this: you are better than all of that. You are worth so much more than any number – the one on the scale, the one on the measuring tape, the number inside your clothes, the numbers arrayed in pie chart format on your preferred calorie counting app.
You are better than the number on the dumbbells you can lift overhead and better than the time it takes you to run or walk a mile. You are better than the number of push-ups you can do and infinitely better than the number of followers on Instagram or Facebook. Your value as a human being does not reside in your size, shape or abilities.
In the words of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, “….you are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here…”
All of this being true, I invite you to discard the concept of exercise. If you’ve been approaching exercise as a punishment for how you look or what you ate, let it go. If you view exercise as obligatory rent to exist in the world, release it. If exercise is your self-imposed permission to enjoy food or wear your favorite outfit, kick it to the curb. If the idea of exercise triggers feelings of shame, you don’t need it. Let it go.
Your body was designed to move. It is an entire world of muscles, organs, tendons, tissue, bones, blood and complex circuitry. It’s working 24/7 just to keep you alive. Your body doesn’t care what you look like in a swimsuit. Your body is impervious to negative commentary. Numbers have no meaning for it. Your body simply is. And your body is simply good, just as it is.
Movement is fun. Remember age 5 and running around, screaming for no reason? Movement can be exhilarating. Remember your first passionate kiss? Movement is helpful. Remember having to pack up your home and move down the street or across town or across country? Movement makes life better.
What would happen if you embraced physical activity as an epic adventure? True adventure is about embracing the unknown with an open mind and an open heart. It’s about taking chances and making new discoveries. Adventure is a means of learning more about yourself than you’ve ever known! It’s joy, discomfort, happiness, frustration, and peace all rolled into one.
This is your personal invitation to fitness as life-long adventure. It’s a choose-your-own kind of adventure where you get to call all the shots.
What kind of movement seems like a good idea?
Dancing the Samba? Climbing Denali? Playing a pick-up game of soccer in the park? Riding a bike to your favorite café? Backpacking the Grand Canyon? Yoga on the beach? Go do it!
Drum roll, please! This is real fitness – the ability to have fun with your body on your terms. It has nothing do with treadmills or Fitbits or calories. It has no relation to the size of your shorts or the shape of your hips. Fitness as adventure is how optimal health is sustained and life truly lived.
You don’t need soul-crushing deprivation and feelings of shame and guilt about your body. You don’t need 60 mind-numbing minutes on the treadmill. You’re better than that. You deserve to discover all the ways in which your body is amazing. You deserve to move in ways that feel fantastic and make you want more.
You were born for adventure. Get out there!
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