It’s easy to focus on the beauty benefits of working out. But constantly looking for physical changes can actually make you more self-conscious, not self-confident. That’s enough to put a damper on anyone’s fitness vibe.
For more body-positive workouts, follow these steps.
1. Remember that your body is already lovable. Love yourself first. Instead of thinking of exercise as a punishment for not feeling or looking how you like, approach it as a way to make your body happier. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator can be a reward for your legs after sitting at your desk all day. Going on a jog after school can be a celebration for making it through another exam.
2. Exercise for you, and no one else. Pressure to look like photoshopped swimsuit models can come from media, but a lot of us also experience pressure from family members and friends. Stay healthy for yourself, and resist the urge to change to meet someone else’s (usually unrealistic) expectations. Motivation that comes from within can have the greatest lasting impacts and be the most and satisfying.
3. Focus on strength and health. It’s obvious that exercise can cause cosmetic changes in your body, but exercising comes with numerous other health-, energy-, and mood-related benefits. Hitting the gym can seriously boost your energy, lower stress levels, and can even make you sleep better! Exercising for your health also promotes self-image and self-esteem, something that a lot of us battle with. Through conquering this, we feel organized, confident, and most of all, happy. It can also decrease your risks for ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, and more.
4. Have fun! There are so many fun and new things you can try on your journey to being happy with yourself. Next time you’re at the gym, ask if they offer any classes. A lot of gyms have access to kickboxing, spinning, yoga, or zumba classes that let you have an awesome time while getting your heart rate up.
*As always, it’s a good idea to chat with a knowledgeable adult like a parent or medical professional if you’re starting a new exercise schedule.