Anyone who has been reading my blog for the past seven years knows that this is my platform for confessions… And if you’re a follower (which I am so grateful for those of you who are), you know that I bare myself in hopes that my readers will benefit from my admissions. Whether that benefit is simply feeling a connection to a like-minded soul, or experiencing a true, physical benefit in your life from my advice on nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle habits, I’m here to help.
Throughout my adult life, exercise has always been a way for me to stay healthy, but also a way for me to stay small. Like many others, I have looked at exercise as my tool for optimal calorie expenditure, first and foremost (and for some odd reason this obsession I have with keeping my blood pressure low; just the other day I was told it was 94/58…go Kim!).
In theory, I have always known I need to stretch, and balance, and strength train, but if I’m going to spend 30-60 minutes a day exercising, I’m going to get the most bang for my buck.
But as I get older (and hopefully wiser), I realize that the currency may not be what I thought it was. And I’m starting to see that calorie burning should be not first, but last on my list of what is important.
I have spent most of my life running and doing aerobics. You’d think I would be in great shape. Cardiovascularly speaking, I am. And I am small. But the truth is, physically, I’m a mess. Here I am a girl in my thirties, and I feel like I’m eighty years old some days (but if some nice, cute guy in his twenties asks, I’m only 28, OK?).
My back is always hurting and sore, I struggle to do a full squat correctly without pain, If I lift anything that weighs more than a one-year old I can’t move for a week, I can’t bend over without being mindful of my back going out on me, and when it comes to muscular endurance I tire easily. I feel stiff all of the time, like my body is tightening on me as I age (well,… it is, as is yours).
As I have mentioned, I go to a personal trainer. But I have made the commitment to myself that my goal is to fix my aching body that won’t move, and I’m not going to care about whether or not I sweat. My workouts are focusing on all of the things I need to work on; balance, building strength, increasing flexibility, and improving muscular endurance.
The truth is, all of these things burn calories, too. And some argue that increasing muscle mass is better for overall calorie burning than cardiovascular exercise. But I’m not worried about any of it. I need to feel like I’m twenty-something, not sixty-something. That’s my focus.
Thanks to our society’s nauseating obsession with weight loss and having the perfect body (aesthetically speaking), no one is being told that you should be exercising for all the reasons I stated above…the reasons that you should be exercising. When was the last time you saw an advertisement in a magazine or on TV for using something like the Bosu to improve your balance? You never have. All we hear is “lose weight, lose weight, lose weight!” Personally, I’m tired of hearing that message. It’s time to get healthy, instead.
Too many people start exercising and look to the scale to measure whether or not they are making progress. Stop! The progress will be found in how you feel. Do you have more energy? Is your flexibility or strength improving? Can you do something you couldn’t do before? These are the questions you need to ask yourself to measure progress.
And if you need to lose weight for your health, that will come in time. I’ve lost 3 pounds in the past two weeks since seeing my trainer again and reducing my dessert (OK…and wine) intake. Just stay active and balance out your workouts. Stop worrying about calories and worry about whole body exercise; cardiovascular, muscular, and flexibility as well as balance and relaxation.