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Are you fit for fitness?

Challenging the mindset around fitness, and how exercise can fit into your lifestyle.

I am blessed to have two daughters, and it is interesting how we all have a different perspective on fitness and what it means to take care of your body. My younger daughter does gymnastics, so naturally her approach to exercise is quite hands-on. My older daughter is in her pre-teen stage, and for all who have been there, I’m sure you can imagine the stress of feeling conscious about your body and all its new changes. Many times I also find myself thinking about how if I want to maintain a good weight, I must be fit.

But I have been thinking about whether squeezing fitness into the tiny box labelled “weight loss” is beneficial for us, or is it actually counter-productive? Because what happens during days when you don’t feel like moving around so much? Suddenly your fitness doesn’t seem as important - or appetising - as curling up on the comfortable couch to watch a movie with your favourite snack.

The more I think about it, the more I come to realise that taking care of your body is not all about maintaining a certain size or weight.

One day, when I was chatting with my daughters about health and fitness, I heard my younger daughter boldly ask a question to my older daughter:

“What do you choose?” she said.

“Do you choose to exercise, or not eat? Because, you know what; if you eat, you’re helping your body grow. If you don’t eat, you’re hurting yourself. So with exercise, you will feel the pain but it’s good for you.”

With that, I believe she really put things into perspective. Fitness and working out should not only be about losing weight; it is about your overall health. As my friend and fitness coach, Mareka Masule, says: being fit is about being physically strong, being aware of your body, and feeling alive and energetic. And no matter where you are in your wellness journey, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can only do you good.

Not only does exercise make you more aware of what you are feeding yourself, it also helps you become more in tune with your body and how it works. It helps to keep in mind that fitness is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Although it is for everyone, each person needs to take into consideration what his or her own body can handle; this way, you will get to understand and appreciate your body on a whole new level.

You might even be relieved to know that keeping fit is not all about doing squats and jumping jacks. If you cannot picture yourself jumping up and down in the

same spot for twenty minutes, why not try walking your dog or riding a bike? What about a dance fitness class? Choosing the stairs instead of the elevator is also a form of exercise. There are many ways that you make your fitness journey work for you.

Whether or not you are exercising to gain, lose, or maintain your weight, taking care of your physical health is the engine that will drive you towards a more successful lifestyle. Consider it a form of self care. Knowing that you made an effort sets the tone for each day and helps you put your best foot forward.

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