Are we socially obliged to exercise?

“I’m a fat ass, but I’m also a badass!” (Whitney Thore)

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Swimming is a great low impact sport!

I’ve just come back from the gym, sweating like a pig in July. This is a typical Wednesday for me. Spinning, followed by a run, some weights and then a quick swim. To top off my day at the luxurious gym, I down a protein shake, which feels like it should be used for medicinal purposes, not an enjoyable beverage. I am not abnormal. I am one of the thousands who are part of a gym establishment such as Bannatynes, Virgin Active and David Lloyd. But why do we put ourselves through that pain and torture?

Upon returning from the gym, I sign on to Strava to log my run, Facebook to update my status with my new PB and text my boyfriend with how long I spent in the gym today. I questioned whether this is a form of bragging? Or simply pride through my achievements? In the past few years there has been an increase in communication through social media, therefore making it highly accessible for others to be informed about your current fitness state. Why do we do this? To encourage others or to make our friends feel obliged to match/beat our athletic ability? Personally, my competitive nature is triggered and I judge my own ability and effort against those I know. Whenever I see posts based on fitness and health or articles about obesity, I feel the need to get out of my dressing gown and slippers and start exercising. Is this guilt?

Now, more than ever before, exercising is part of so many of our lives. As a woman in my 20s, it is common practice to take part in group exercise, such as Zumba, Bokwa, bootcamps and boxercise. The purpose of gym classes is that it engages people through creating routine in our daily lives (due to the timetabling) making it easier for people to maintain.

Why not head out for a run? Don't worry about how you look! Think about how you will feel after!

Why not head out for a run? Don’t worry about how you look! Think about how you will feel after!

Additionally, when joining in with a group you feel obliged to attend and not miss sessions. You don’t want anyone to notice you are missing from the session, in the fear of being named and shamed the following week. Plus it may start as an obligation to join the masses, but soon you will be making friends, socialising and finding it less of a chore and more of a lure.

Gone are the days of clubbing every weekend and sleeping in until midday. Instead we have replaced our free time with competing in obstacle courses, going out for a cycle and taking a walk in the countryside. So are we socially obliged to exercise? I know I am! I feel guilty for not. Not just because I don’t want to be judged by others, but because I don’t want to judge myself. With the UK being one of the most obese countries in Europe, I refuse to join the 57% of women who are overweight in Britain!

I say, get exercising and feel good about yourself! Healthy is wealthy!

Zumba along with the girls! Grab your friends and go!

Zumba along with the girls! Grab your friends and go!

Check out: http://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/may/29/uk-western-europe-obesity-study

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