Credit: Kenny Kennethh via Unsplash

A physical re-education

By Abby Franklin

Why you don’t want to exercise

When we imagine exercising, perhaps the first image that comes to mind is a runner on a treadmill. No headphones in, a stern face, fast pace, manic glint in the eye. It’s a psychopath, we’re thinking of a psychopath. The Physical Education we received in school has likely informed our current exercise habits and has perhaps left us with a couple of hangups. Maybe to the point that you no longer exercise, or put it off to a ridiculous degree, or do it because you think you should (even though you don’t actually like it). I’d like to invite you to begin a physical re-education of sorts, to rethink how we approach exercise in both mindset and practice.  

Maybe it’s not because exercise isn’t fun, it’s because you’re not having fun with exercise. In the past you may have been made to participate in sports that you could never find interest in. Have you ever mentally moved on? Perhaps imprinted in the mind is the ghost of Christmas picked last. So, you tell yourself sports are not fun and you’re not good at them. How misled you have become. Please remember, you are no longer limited to usual suspects of football, hockey or rugby. Go and find something you find fun and this doesn’t have to be as serious as learning a new sport. The important thing is to make yourself sweat. Anything that gets the heart rate up for 30 minutes will do. Remember, your body doesn’t want to do a specific routine, it wants to move.

Novelty is your friend. Let’s consider the idea that P.E didn’t scar you, but you still struggle to motivate yourself to exercise. The prospect of carting yourself off to the gym for yet another booty buster workout just isn’t appealing anymore. But you know consistency is key and you absolutely must be disciplined if you want to stay in shape. Please know you will not be held against a cookie cutter at any point in your life and therefore do not need to be shaped a certain way. Instead, let’s take the pressure off and do something new. There is no need to shoot for the moon here, just take yourself to the gym and have a go at whatever you fancy. Take the thinking out of it and go along to a class: kettlebells, dancefit, pilates, VR30, Metcon, Rev45. Who knows what those last three are but aren’t you just dying to find out? Go try to balance on a yoga ball for ten minutes. See where that leads you. Go do a pull-up. See where that leads you. Not having a gym membership is not an excuse, there are free outside gyms in the most random places, go find them, joy will be sparked. 

Friends are your friends. Nothing quite takes the pressure off than having your idiot friend beside you. And nothing quite motivates you to work harder than being outperformed by said idiot friend. Friends are also good because they can hold you accountable. Perhaps another thing you must unlearn is how often you should be exercising. P.E would lead you to believe that twice a week will do. Again misleading. You should be exercising every day. 

Naturally, you may ignore all this advice because you are an adult and may do as you like. Nobody is going to make you look after your body. Nobody else is responsible. And with that in mind please also remember that as you are an adult, so if you want to do a hundred cartwheels or go on the monkey bars, you can. It’s time to evolve our thinking beyond what we learnt in school. There is no curriculum anymore. 


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