In my last post, I talked about why movement and making time to move is important not only for a healthy body, but for a healthy mind-body connection. After uploading that post, I proceeded with my day and heard an ad on the radio marketing a discounted gym membership for listeners looking to shed that last 10 pounds before swimsuit season. Waiting in line at the grocery store, I noticed magazines promising a workout to tone your tummy in 7 days or a “Summer Shape-Up” routine to target every zone in “just minutes a day”!
Honestly, I’m just fed up with seeing that kind of marketing everywhere I go. Why can’t people just exercise and move without weight loss being the ultimate goal? Can’t we just move our bodies because it feels good? Why does a progressive action to exercise imply that we’re unhappy with how we look and that we’re doing said action to lose weight or tone-up?
In the modern media, exercise is a means to lose weight and nothing else. And while exercise does aid in burning fat and building muscle, we cannot forget about the countless other benefits of exercise that have nothing to do with weight loss! Regular exercise can:
- Reduce stress & improve mental clarity (great for combating depression & anxiety),
- Positively impact one’s self-image & self-love,
- Prevent brain cell degeneration,
- Increase productivity & increase one’s ability to relax,
- Encourage normal body function to fight disease (i.e. diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure),
And so much more! Movement of all kind is beneficial to the body; stretching elongates targeted muscles and the surrounding connective tissues to elicit muscle relaxation and increase flexibility. Joint mobilization stimulates the body’s production of synovial fluid to allow freer joint movement (which is vital as we get older) and increases kinetic (bodily) awareness.
For a healthy mind-body connection, exercise is key. When we habitually associate exercise with weight loss, it can make us feel that if we’re not losing weight as a result of exercise, our efforts are wasted and then discourages us from continuing. Get out and move not to get down to a certain size or to fit society’s bologna standards; do it to show your body that you love and accept it just as it is, and that’s why you want to take care of it.
Do it because it feels good and you deserve to feel good!
- Benjamin, Patricia. Tappan’s Handbook of Massage Therapy. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2016. Print. Pg 291.