The dreaded ‘E’ word

So after my last two posts which have been about some pretty banging desserts, I thought I would turn my attention to exercise to try and balance it out a bit.

Growing up, me and exercise really did not have the best relationship. I was quite an overweight child and teenager (my friends still roast me over the pics) and I think that really did not help the problem. I didn’t eat particularly unhealthily, I just ate a lot. My parents always made sure I had loads of veg but I was just always hungry. I think I was too inspired by my book hero, the very hungry caterpillar. I dabbled in some exercises like gymnastics, karate, swimming and dance, but never really got THAT into it. In secondary school, the problem really didn’t get any better. I tried joining hockey and netball but always ended up on the bottom teams. I remember doing 1500 meters and coming like second to last or something and at just thinking ‘what is even the point?’ Secondary school is a time when teenage girls are at their most self-conscious. Their bodies are changing, and boys are starting to notice them. And teenage boys realllllyyyy aren’t afraid to hold back on pointing out your flaws (tbh some teenage girls aren’t much better). In year 9 I started going to the youth sessions at the gym on a Saturday with my friend Philippa. On the surface it seems like a good, healthy choice, but now looking back as an adult, I realise that we were just doing it to get thin like the other girls (on a side note Philippa was always healthy, gorgeous and never needed to lose weight; but I think we had pretty similar mentalities). When I started sixth form I moved school to one where PE was still compulsory, and at first I DREADED it. This school had a really different approach to sport. Instead of being split by ability and told what we were doing that lesson, the teachers would put on 4/5 different activities covering all sorts of things from football to yoga (and even quidditch, YOU HEARD ME) and let me tell you, it was a breath of fresh air. I ended up spending most of my sessions doing yoga in a small group of about 5 girls, and I ended up actually looking forward to it!

Now as an adult, I have tried dabbling in loads of things, and I feel like I may have finally figured out what works for me. But the main point of this post is to discuss confidence when working out. I think one of the key issues that holds most people back is insecurity about working out and exercising in front of others, especially when you are hung up on these insecurities from child/teenagehood. And I’m here to tell you the most fundamental rule: no matter your size, people respect you for trying. Stepping foot in a gym is a very daunting experience for many people. You feel judged and all the weight machines seem pretty intimidating. But I am here to tell you that someone will always be willing to help. The trainers in the gym will probably be more than happy to show you how something works than sit in the office and twiddle their thumbs, IT’S WHAT THEY’RE PAID TO DO! I think if schools changed the way they approach exercise and health, and these things were nipped in the bud at an early age, people would be much more enthusiastic about exercise.

I remember seeing this video of this doctor saying that being overweight/even mildly obese is actually not a problem, people not exercising is. There are many people considered overweight who exercise regularly and actually have relatively healthy bodies. As we are all (probably) aware, doctors say obesity is one of the biggest modern problems, and I think it could really make a difference if exercise was a. fun, b. free, and c. readily available to everyone. I know that the exercise classes I enjoy most are the ones where I laugh. It is commonly raised by doctors and nutritionists that there is a link between economic background and obesity. I’m so lucky to have found a very cheap student exercise class deal, but the reality is for many people that 1. running isn’t fun, and 2. if they do want to go to a class then they are pretty bloody expensive. If the government subsidised classes to make them accessible to everyone, I’m not saying it would solve the problem, but it may help just a little bit. And that would be a step in the right direction.

Now I know I could definitely be fitter and healthier, but I feel like as I have grown up, I have finally got into the right mindset for doing exercise. To enjoy it!


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