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You don’t need to go to the gym

I need to go to the gym.

Chances are you’ve said this before. You may have said it recently, and that’s ok. But what if I told you that you didn’t “need to” or “have to” go to the gym to live a healthier life?

Now let’s be clear; I’m not suggesting you don’t go to the gym. I’m saying that the gym (and everything that comes with it) doesn’t have to be your path to better wellbeing.

When I tell folks I compete in track and field, they often respond with something they “need to do” in their life to get in better shape or improve their wellbeing.

Often times it’s “I need to get back into working out” or “I wish I could do that, but I know I need to do X first.”

What usually follows is the overwhelm of having to do things they don’t want to or know how to do. There’s often a dose of shame mixed in for good measure. I understand because I’ve been there, down to the eyes shifting to the floor or in another direction as the unease and discomfort settle in at the thought of what you “should” be doing.

“People are gonna see me lifting feebly.”

“I don’t know how or want to do all those exercises. The gym is intimidating when you’re getting started.”

“I hate the treadmill.”

Yeah, I’ve heard (or said) it all. And that’s why I’m a fan of focusing on movement for anyone that doesn’t have specific performance or appearance goals. You’re about to sigh in relief. Stay with me.

Exercise is a subcategory of movement.

african american woman performing modified pushups against her desk in office while viewing computer monitor

Exercise is structured, repetitive, and intentional movement. It’s often focused on maintaining or increasing physical fitness.

Lifting weights is an easy one, but how about a Peloton ride?

Since the instructor prepared for the class and there are planned movements and speeds, it goes in the exercise bucket. You can include going for a run or a fast-paced walk.

Movement is physical activity that expends energy beyond what you normally expend at rest. Exercise is a subcategory of movement.

I’m guessing you know your body needs a certain amount of calories to maintain your weight. A range of movement activities play a role in gaining, losing, or holding steady on the scale.

It’s also a great starting point for how you think about improving your wellbeing.

Chemicals are released that positively impact metabolic and immune system functioning; things you should care about today, but especially as you get older. Word to #cellhealth and elder millennials everywhere.

Another thing about movement: you’re already doing it. Chances are, there’s something you’re not giving yourself credit for today.

Here are examples of movements that contribute to positive wellbeing:

  • Playing a sports or physically active game on Nintendo Wii or Switch.
  • Going for a weekend hike with family or friends.
  • Playing basketball every Wednesday night
  • Going for a long walk with the pup.
  • Taking a walk during your lunch break or periodically throughout the day.
  • Walking multiple flights of stairs a few times per day.

A lot of options, right?

That’s why I recommend focusing on movement if you’re just getting started and don’t have specific fitness or performance goals.

The idea is to build momentum and confidence. Remember, your journey to better wellbeing doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s.

You get to define that for yourself.

Interested in improving your wellbeing? Set up a free 20-minute discovery call with Rich to discuss your goals and see if coaching is right for you.

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