Can you imagine our western world without gyms, fitness classes, step trackers, HIIT workouts, spin classes, couch to 5k and the list goes on; No me neither! Everyday we are all reminded of the fact we should be moving or reminded of the fact we did not move!
I literally get anxious when my watch beeps at me to stand up as I have been sat down for too long – that’s crazy!!
Sadly since we have all become so sedentary, the fitness industry has continued to grow, cleverly contriving for us to get ‘THAT’ workout into our already busy and hectic lives. Its for not for our benefit you lovely people, its all just to make money for them! Cynical right?!
We all know we need to move, human beings were not ‘born’ to be sat or stood still all day, with most jobs being desk based we naturally look around us to get the exercise we believe we need!
I have come to realise we are so similar to sheep (no offence to sheep) – most of us will follow where others go, build a gym and we will come!
What are the official exercise guidelines? The government recommend we get moving for at least 30 minutes a day, enough to get your heart beating; A brisk walk, gardening & household chores
75 minutes a week of vigorous activity – a light jog, cycling or using light weights to strengthen muscle. (Get out your bags of sugar)!
What exactly are we looking to achieve from Exercise?!
I asked myself that question first; For me its about pushing my comfort zone, burning extra calories, building a toned physic, staying slim and initially exercise did wonders for my mental health and stress levels – at first! Exercise was mine, I had personal goals to beat, weight I could lose and no-one there to tell me I was a failure, ironically only myself over time.
I then asked someone else who I know exercises 2-3 times a week; For them its a combination of feeling good inside and out, being able to eat a piece of chocolate or have a beer and ultimately keep heart healthy & maintain weight. Similar but not in an excessive way, they have a stop button.
Since questioning my eating disorder and my addiction to exercise, I have actually found myself in the gym looking around me feeling ridiculous at my own stupidity.
I am in a small airless room with no windows surrounded by expensive equipment, unforgiving mirrors sweating with strangers.
In gyms (most I have been in and thats a few) no one speaks, there is an air of competition, unfriendliness and malicious desire to be better by running faster than the next person. Its egotistic and I am guilty of it.
I apologise if you are one of those people, but in the least speak to your fellow gym goer – lighten up!!
We are all there in the hope we might get a six pack, tone our bums, loose the jiggly bits on our thighs or burn an extra 50 calories to justify something we may eat later – when we could be outside enjoying life and ultimately burning a few calories by just living & breathing in the moment.
It embarrasses me to think what other societies would think of us and our self indulgence of fitness?
In communities all over the world workouts consist of cleaning houses, hand washing clothes, walking to fetch groceries, their everyday lives are busy and active enough – who needs the gym?!
I realise fitness obsession is part of living in Western society but sometimes I am envious to think there are people who do not have the pressure in their everyday lives to fulfil their exercise quota! Their pressures are of course very different – the western world can be easier in so many respects and so much harder in others.
As an exercise addict, I so very easily fell into believing I was a failure unless I had worked out at the gym every morning or evening and sometimes both.
The sense of achievement exercise gave me was something I could not find in my everyday life. At my worst when I travelled with work, even with jet lag I would wake at 4am workout for an hour be on my feet all day and then fit another half hour in the hotel gym before we went out with clients – It was my secret and it was exhilarating!
I was exhausted, frustrated, unhappy but happy, however I could sleep at night knowing I had worked out and achieved my goal that day.
We all know not to sit in front of computers, TV’s and get moving but it does not have to mean sweating in a room with a load of other people. Get out at lunchtime, prioritise your health and sanity and walk for half an hour, the fresh air alone will make you feel amazing.
I do still exercise and honestly yes I do still over exercise, its an addiction and one I am desperately trying to break – its exhausting and has taken up way too much of my time over the last few years.
I will always want to stay fit and heart healthy, ultimately as we move into old age staying active and doing all we can to ease the burden on the NHS is only a good thing!
Stay fit people but just think about how and why you do it and don’t fall into my trap of thinking it will make you a better person – it won’t!