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As a former Human Kinetics major and someone who loves being active and who actually does “Have a V8” (lol) it is really important for me to get this message across and to promote healthy living…
We all know that exercise is important and that our mothers were onto something when they told us to be sure and eat our veggies and to not fill up on sweets before dinner. But why are these things so important? I am a firm believer in Intuitive Eating (the laws of which are eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full and eat whatever your body craves) and, as someone who once struggled with anorexia athletica and phases of intense over-exercising I also believe that exercise should never be something we feel we have to do even on days when maybe we are a bit tired or simply too busy. However, amidst all of the talk that you shouldn’t feel enslaved by your exercise regime and that you can’t spend the rest of your life eating brownies and French fries and avoiding apples and green beans (should’ve had a V8!) I think it is important to realize that although one shouldn’t feel enslaved to their personal trainer or deprived by their strict ‘diet’ one should also not feel it is not important to eat healthily or go for the occasional walk.
I believe, like with most things, one must find a middle ground. And why must this middle ground be found? Not for aesthetic purposes and not so you can show off your athletic abilities, but so that you can maintain a healthy life. Let’s face it; we all know there are many bad (and even fatal) side effects to a sedentary lifestyle, especially when paired with poor diet. Obesity is a major concern in our society and, though I believe a big part of the problem is rooted in addictions and emotional compulsions, it cannot be argued that putting in the effort to start loving your body and listening to it and incorporating healthy foods and moderate exercise can ward off the woes of being overweight (surprisingly, if you start listening to your body you will find that amidst its cries for hamburgers and chocolate cake, it will also want some salads and fresh fruit thrown in).
Now, it is important to understand that when I say ‘overweight’ I do not mean by fashion standards or even BMI standards (which, by the way, is NOT an accurate way to test your health – and most health professionals agree) but I mean ‘overweight’ to the point where it is affecting your health and even threatening premature death. Being ‘overweight’ by this standard can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes (just to name a few) and being inactive can result in more loss of bone density with aging (compared to an active individual), which in turn puts the person at a greater risk for osteoporosis and serious injuries.
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So, with all that being said, I think it is important when choosing to move forward towards a healthy lifestyle, to focus on all aspects of that lifestyle – first and foremost focusing on spiritual and mental health, but also not ignoring the need for physical health.
Check out our #StopFitspiration project for more body positive fitness and exercise resources.
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