Is looking good more marketable than feeling good?
When did fitness become all about abs and (very little) lycra? Speaking as someone from the fitness industry, this stereotype really grates. Especially when it advocates the least important benefits of exercise.
Exercising has many immediate and long-term health benefits. A recent study in Europe showed that exercise can increase your lifespan by 5 years. Studies have also found that exercise has positive effects on chemical levels in the brain such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones to help with depression and stress management. Other long term benefits are;
- stronger bones, muscles and joints and lowers the risk of osteoporosis
- reduces risks of diseases such as heart, type 2 diabetes
The more immediate benefits are fat loss, better sleep patterns — which in turn also helps with managing weight gain and moods.
Exercising should invigorate your nerves, muscles and mind. Fitness is about the overall health of your mind and body.
Having said all this, I am witnessing more and more people exercising for all the wrong reasons. The fitness industry has done well promoting the vanity aspect of exercise with adverts of toned tanned half-naked bodies with plastic faces and coiffured hair. It reminds me of the tagline of a popular Sydney Inner West gym “look better naked” — which I find amusing because of its brazen omission of superficiality. Which begs me to ask “Is looking good more marketable than feeling good?”
This culture of fashionable diets and exercise data assessing — albeit counting calories, logging in steps/ rides, measuring your heart rate — baffles me. I’m clearly not on the same page.
Logistics aside — exercising should invigorate your nerves, muscles and mind. Fitness is about the overall health and vitality of your mind and body. Exercise to feel challenged, inspired and alive. Most importantly - enjoy it. And yes for the long term, your health is worth going that extra mile and counting the added beats per minute.
The body has 320 pairs of skeletal muscles — undeniably a most fascinating machine so use it to its full potential!