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Rethinking Your Workout Mentality


Workout. It’s just one of the words that seems to dominate our lives in many different ways—including ways we may not notice. When most people think of the word “workout,” it’s probably associated with thoughts of getting to the gym, and that’s fine.

But in today’s fast-paced society, have you ever really stopped and thought about how you view exercise and physical activity, instead of going by what you see on TV and in magazines or hear at the gym?

Maybe it’s time to reconsider your views on what working out actually means. Read on to find out why.

Workouts in America vs. Everywhere Else

These days, it’s pretty hard to go anywhere without hearing the terms “workout” or “working out.” Every day, our society is bombarded with billboards, television and radio ads, magazine spreads and much more that put a large emphasis on working out, getting fit, and staying healthy.

Staying healthy is of the utmost importance (especially with the obesity epidemic), but throughout the U.S., there seems to be a thought that staying healthy is equivalent to working out. Then, there’s the idea that working out is equivalent to going to a gym. Funny, isn’t it?

Slate published an article in 2011 that takes a look at how people in other Workout-Mentality-quote2countries get their daily exercise. From everyday labor, cricket, and open-air aerobics to group calisthenics, outdoor ballroom dancing, and jogging and biking, there are very few countries outside of the U.S. that spend large amounts of time at a gym.

While many Americans spend inordinate amounts of time there, other people around the world are getting their exercise simply by doing the things they enjoy. This study from the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research states that people in France love sports, and that they play these sports because they enjoy them, not to stay fit.

Long story short, people in countries outside of the U.S. seem to be more focused on the simple act of movement as exercise, as opposed to many Americans who are seemingly obsessed with spending time at the gym where there are weights and other machines that facilitate exercise.

Why are we so attached to the idea that the only way to get a good workout is to join a gym? Why do we feel we have to do as everyone else is doing? Why do many of us look at fitness as something we have to find the time to fit in to our busy everyday lives?

It’s what is known as the “workout mentality,” and it’s time to re-visit what your mentality is when it comes to fitness and staying healthy.

Changing How You Look at Your Workouts

So, just how do you change your workout mentality?

Identify with movement.

Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple has this to say:

It would mean seeing movement not as the exception to be scheduled (or measured in equivalents throughout the day) but a default lifestyle to simply align with … It would mean viewing movement not as a logistical chore but as a means of physical actualization.

Workout-Mentality-quote1In every one of us, there’s a natural instinct that revolves around movement. Rather than focus on fitting in gym exercise time, stay focused on the natural movements you perform throughout the day.

Mark raises a question we should all keep in mind when we’re considering the ideas of movement and staying healthy.

How would our choices differ if we made physical activity a value rather than a measure?

What would you do? Run more? Play with your kids more often? Would you walk or bike to work instead of driving or taking the train?

It’s an interesting thing to think about.

You can move. There are people out there who may not be as lucky. Don’t take this ability lightly. When you change the way you think about movement, you can change the way you approach exercise, which then leads to a new approach to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

How are you valuing your own movement? How do you plan to change the way you think about workouts? Let us know in the comments section.


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