Learning To Not View Exercise As a Punishment

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Sometimes the pressure of being active can start to weigh us down. The preoccupation with the constant fear that “we’re not doing enough” applies to all areas of life, including the gym. However, exercise should be viewed as a privilege, not a punishment. So, when the gym starts to become an obligation rather than a choice, it’s time to do something to change the narrative.

Stop Feeling Guilty

Exercise is meant to make us feel good, not something that makes us feel guilty. If you begin to foster guilt about not going to the gym for some time and feel like you “have” to go, stop yourself right there. Don’t go to the gym out of guilt, go because you want to. You’ll find that when you go to the gym when it works for YOU rather than because of your guilty conscious, it will become much more enjoyable.

Be Motivated

Healthy motivation is key. Setting realistic goals is what will essentially keep you pushing to be your best without causing burn out. Celebrating small victories can also further progress. Even just getting yourself to the gym or going on a walk is something to celebrate and be proud of.

Find What Makes You Feel Best

Finding what form of exercise makes you feel the happiest is the golden rule to enjoy staying active. If you’re not into the gym, there are so many other alternatives that are just as effective. Walking is a great non-intense form of exercise known to be super relaxing. Not only does it benefit your physical health, but your mental health as well. Yoga is another less intense option that increases mindfulness while still moving your body.

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Say This, Instead of That

Instead of saying: “Ugh, I have to go to the gym today.” Say this: “I’m so lucky that I have a healthy body, and I want to make it stronger and improve my wellness by getting some exercise.” Instead of saying: “I’m being so unproductive, I haven’t been to the gym in forever, I’m so lazy.” Say this: “I just needed a little mental and physical break from exercising so I could come back when I was truly ready and give it my best.” Reworking phrases like these and changing your negative self-talk is what will help you form a healthy relationship with exercise.

The Importance of Rest

Understanding that your body needs rest and some time off will allow you to practice kind discipline in the future. Listen to your body. If it needs a day off, take it. The more you overwork yourself, the more the gym becomes a burden. However, don’t take your rest days for granted, use these days to keep yourself healthy and ready for when you return.

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Your Relationship With Food

Your relationship with food is everything. It’s easy to feel guilty about what food you eat, but it is paramount to understand that food is fuel. This will decrease your fixation on what you eat and the compulsion to exercise to make up for it. Regardless of how you feel, you should never ask yourself for permission to eat.

Set a Healthy Workout Routine

Developing a workout routine tailored to your schedule is the perfect way to make time for the gym without it feeling like a chore. Pick days that work best for you and ones where you feel you have the most time and energy during. On days when you’re super busy, don’t go. However, exercise can make people feel better when they’re super busy and stressed. So if you find that exercise improves your wellbeing, try to make some time, as it can be a great stress-reliever!

Trying to improve yourself and have a healthy relationship with exercise? Follow us @VALLEYmag on Instagram for more wellness tips!


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