Physical activity for healthy fulfillment, not looks

I understand this pandemic has put a strain on all of us, and this includes our physical activity levels. I work as a student assistant for Annual Giving and Alumni Relations and when working on campus, I would take active breaks like getting up, stretching, and taking a walk while inhaling the fresh air. During the transition of moving back home, working remotely, and learning through a virtual setting, I found myself lacking motivation and confidence within myself. 

Social media was my main deterrence in becoming physically active again. As I would scroll through images of different people, I thought to myself ‘oh I could never be that size or I could never look as good as they do.’ Ever since I was little, I have always compared myself with my peers, wondering why I couldn’t mirror their image. I have never found myself sitting on the slender side of the scale, even when I was engaging in the most vigorous physical activities. The world we live in is surrounded by individuals that are constantly telling us how we should or shouldn’t look, eat, drink, act, and even wear our clothes a certain way. 

I am a fourth year Kinesiology student and if there is one thing I have learned in my time here at CSUMB, it is that we need to throw the scale out the window and shut out everyone else’s ideas of ourselves! I have been looking at becoming physically active in all the wrong ways. 

Engaging in physical activity or exercise should be executed purely for the enjoyment of feeling good about yourself, not for the looks. We are all unique individuals with different body types and needs, therefore, physical activity will affect each and every one of us in different ways. It is not about who is the skinniest, who can run the most distance, or who can lift the most weight. 

As we all adapt to this change in time, I encourage you to start becoming active in the ways that interest you and in the ways that make you live a healthier life. Some examples of physical activities that you can participate in include going for a walk around your neighborhood, taking your dog to the park to play fetch, planting a garden in your backyard, doing some chores around the house, practice yoga poses or lifting weights in your garage if they are available.

We should all take advantage of the health benefits that come out of physical activity. You are the only person who is in charge of your body and managing your health, so why not take the lead? Our looks or body image is only a perception that is subject to change based on what others see, but being the best healthy version of yourself is a lifestyle. 

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