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Rollerskating: How It Made Me Reexamine What It Means to be Healthy

Quarantine has quickly become a time of self-reflection for me and has led me to the realization that there are many things about my life I desire to improve. As the prospect of returning to “normal” begins to look closer than ever, it has become a priority in my life to make myself the best version of myself I can be.

However, it is with great pride that I can say my means and motivation behind this desire for change has shifted dramatically—particularly my attitude towards my physical health.

Throughout my life, I have struggled to love myself properly and accept my curves and swerves. The appearance of my body—how snatched my waist was, how toned my arms were, how round my hips were—became, unfortunately, equivalent to the representation of my physical health.

In my eyes, exercises were only effective if they worked towards my goal body (hence, “Get Abs in X Days” or “Hourglass Figure in 2 Weeks” workouts). In general, my attitude towards what it means to be healthy and my behaviors became unhealthily obsessed with a fixation on a certain type of body as healthy. Growing up, my wish wasn’t to be “healthier” or “stronger,” but to be “skinnier” and “curvier.”

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So how does rollerskating fit into all of this? When I was little, my friends and I used to go rollerskating on Friday or Saturday nights, and it was the most fun I ever had exercising. For hours, I would skate around the rink, practicing my tricks or racing my friends. Coming out of the rink, I would be a sweaty mess, but I would also be insanely happy.

At the moment, it wasn’t about the calories I burned or how much I was sweating. Instead, it was about the experience I had and the memories I had made with my friends. Many activities I did growing up gave me this same joy: playing football with my brothers, swimming in the pool, spending hours outside playing tag. However, skating was my absolute favorite and the thing I enjoyed most of all. And so, I recently purchased my own pair of roller skates. 

When I purchased my roller skates, I initially bought them solely for the intent of having fun and revisiting one of my favorite childhood hobbies. However, it quickly became another source of anxiety about my body; I even created a schedule for how many hours I could skate a week to lose a pound. When I was skating at the park by my house, I would chastise myself when I was not skating fast enough or for long enough. The same anxieties I harbored about exercise were making a reappearance but attaching themselves to an activity I really enjoyed.

Here’s the thing—exercise should not be done solely to reach a certain body type, and this is what I had to learn. Before I had begun to attach expectations for my exercise goals to it, roller skating had become a fun way to get out of my head. Whenever I was overwhelmed by school or stressed out, skating had quickly become a way to healthily deal with this stress.

My body wasn’t changing, but my mental health was, and that, in itself, was an accomplishment. Although I still have a ways to go, I have finally come to the realization that I need to change my attitude towards exercise. Exercise, for me, has become a way to relax and have fun when I’m stressed, or life gets overwhelming. 

Keziah is a writer for Her Campus. She is majoring in Fashion Design with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. HCXO!
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