You may not be surprised to hear that, in my work as a personal trainer, clients want me to help them lose weight. And it’s tricky. Personally, I’ve seen weight obsession suck the joy out of movement for way too many people (present company included!). Focusing on losing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Focusing on gaining is where it’s at.
Instead of focusing on what they can lose with exercise, I encourage my clients to focus on what they can gain. Movement is more than simply a means to an end. It can be a form of self expression. It can allow us to see the world from a new perspective. It can bring clarity to the mind. It can bring peace to the soul.
It’s possible that exercise can assist in weight loss if that is a goal. Letting it be low on a list of priorities is far more effective (and pleasant!) than creating an obsession around it. Connecting in a positive way with one’s body is just one of the many possible items that might grace the top of the list.
The following are a few super reasons to move that bod that have nothing to do with losing and everything to do with gaining:
Gain Happiness: Exercise changes the brain in very positive ways, making it less prone to stress and anxiety and more receptive to positive states. The increase in sensitivity to hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine, combined with an increase in endorphin production, is a veritable recipe for mood elevation.
Gain Strength: Weak bones and muscles lead to increased injury and impaired locomotion. Performing weight-bearing exercise strengthens both and supports the freedom to move about the world in a more comfortable way.
Gain Energy: Along with proper nutrition and rest, exercise has a major impact on overall energy. Major benefits have been shown in not only healthy individuals, but also those with chronic progressive illness like multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
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My little serotonin junky, happy and sweaty sliding at the park…..