Working Out to Show Myself Love

As a young woman living in the digital age, it’s easy for me to compare my body to the ones I see on my IG feed and in advertisements in magazines—it’s like they’re following me! This image-obsessed society has equated working out with looking good. This mentality is what keeps the majority of young women from establishing a healthy relationship with exercise. I believe it’s time for us to start moving our bodies because it feels good! 

If you don’t feel happier after completing a “self-care task”—like doing a face mask, cooking your favorite meal, or reading a good book—then what’s the point? This might sound crazy but my favorite way to show myself some love is by breaking a sweat. For far too long I worked out in order to achieve a goal that society set for me, but since January I’ve been working out to show my body all that it can do. Whether it takes an hour or just ten minutes, I always feel good after a workout. Below are three tips to building a better relationship with exercise. If working out isn’t your thing, you can find something else that leaves you feeling accomplished and loved. 

Start with your why 

You’ve probably heard this phrase used in a number of contexts. Whenever you set out to achieve a goal, ask yourself why you’re starting. Perhaps you want to run a 5k by the end of the year or be able to climb five flights of stairs without losing your breath. The reason you start working out should go beyond aesthetics if you want to form a meaningful and sustainable workout routine. According to the Mayo Clinic, “physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight, and even boost your self-esteem.” Move your body because it’s good for your health, not just your appearance. Working out should not be a “quick fix”—you should want to incorporate a small amount of movement into your daily routine for the rest of your life—not just leading up to an event or season. 

Don’t feel pressured to subscribe to one method

Before you cash in on a workout program that promises a total body transformation, play the field. YouTube is a treasure trove of free workout videos where you can introduce yourself to the basic moves of almost every type of workout—pilates, HIIT, strength training, barre, just to name a few. Everyone’s body is different and will react differently to movement. Maybe you feel the most powerful when you complete a barre workout, but your friend feels their strongest when they go on a run. Choose a workout that works for you and makes you feel good.

Start small

Don’t feel pressured to jump right into a routine that your body is not ready for. A simple twenty-minute HIIT or yoga workout is just what the body needs to get comfortable with moving. If you only have ten minutes in your day to devote to a workout, then get your body moving for ten minutes. Don’t overdo it—you’ll tire yourself out! Find a nice balance between a challenge and a workout that will encourage you to keep going. Develop a routine that you’ll be able to sustain for a long time.