by carolinenoelle

I know, the third part in this health series is long overdue. The lack of motivation I have been experiencing about writing is actually akin to the lack of motivation I have been feeling about exercise. How fitting. I blame February and its grey sky and the general malaise of a seemingly never-ending winter. Blegh. Also, I apologize if it’s been frustrating that these posts have been mostly geared toward females. I blame my constant reading of Women’s Health.

Anyway, here are my Top 5 exercise tips:

1. Learn to spell exercise. I have been auto-corrected every time I have written the word so far. There is no “Z” in exercise.

2. Try to have fun. Exercise is very difficult for people who don’t like doing things that aren’t fun. My father always says that he will start running when he sees someone running who looks like they are having a good time. Granted, I used to hate running but practiced enough that I came to enjoy the simple monotony of it and found that it cleared my head and reduced my stress. But running is definietely not for everyone. Which brings me to…

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Zumba may sound intimidating but you don’t have to have Shakira hips to be able to successfully Zumba dance or to have a good time doing it. Yoga (or hot yoga!) is a great way to exercise that is low impact but still very refreshing. If you hate sweating, there is probably a pool at your gym where you can swim laps. You don’t have to be an old lady to do water aerobics. (I took a class in college!) I tried snowshoeing for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it was a date. Yes, it still counts as exercising.

4. Don’t forget about the internet. There are great at-home workouts, Groupons for local fitness classes, and online (free!) workout videos available to you! I am WAY too accident prone to run when it is snowy/icey/slushy outside (I once walked into a glass window that I thought was a door. I have also twisted my ankle playing badminton) — SO I have been doing this Zumba video! It’s 50 minutes long, and the quirky British guy who leads it is just adorable. I feel kind of ridiculous doing it alone is my apartment, but less ridiculous than I’d feel trying to run on the ice rink that is my street. More things:

I should add: Beware of Pinterest when looking for fitness inspiration. While some of it is helpful and motivational, looking at pictures of super-skinny girls and wanting to be like them is not healthy. I would rather look at/read about healthy food that I want to cook! I have also seen things on Pinterest that have captions such as, “Eat ice when hungry” (ICE?!?) and quote Kate Moss as saying “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Well, Kate Moss clearly never ate frozen yogurt. Or macaroni and cheese. Or pad thai. Which brings me to…

5. Remember that your ultimate goal is to be healthy. It’s hard to write these over-arching health tips because everyone is different. Yes, obesity is a serious problem in our country…and yet there are still thousands of young girls who are starving themselves and doing jumping-jacks before bed in order to burn off the one bite of food they ate that day. I am not joking. Search through some hash-tags on social media. It is very real and heartbreaking. If you are running because it burns lots of calories, make sure you are intaking enough fuel so that your body can accomplish these runs. We don’t exercise to be thin. Your body is a gift and NOT your enemy. Take care of yourself. You are already beautiful.