Alternative Exercises for Body Positivity
Loving your body and the way it looks can be a challenge, but Frankie Wallace has some suggestions to make loving yourself a little easier.
Many people have an idea in their head about what exercise needs to look like. Many people also have an idea about what their bodies “should” look like — and the two don’t always go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, that can create some unhealthy body image issues, or make you feel down about the way you look.
Of course, it’s important to be healthy and to take care of yourself. Physical self-care is a great way to be more mindful, get a boost of endorphins, and to feel more centered spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.
But, when it comes to body positivity, it’s not always traditional exercises like running or weight-lifting that can make you feel good about the skin you’re in. In fact, exercises specifically meant to help with body positivity can show you how to use your body in other ways — ways you may not have expected.
These alternative exercises show you just what your body can do, and you don’t have to beat yourself up on a treadmill to do it. It’s not necessarily about losing weight or building muscle, either — it’s more about personal goals and achievements, and changing your mindset to see yourself in different ways, both physically and spiritually. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best ways you can stay moving to boost your body positivity.
Finding Positivity Through Physical and Mental Exercising
Feeling better about your body isn’t always about “working out” in the traditional sense. Sure, physical exercise like yoga and hiking in nature can be great ways to change the way your body looks, if that’s what your goal is. You might lose some weight, gain some muscle, or just start to notice little changes all over. But body positivity can also get a boost when you just let go of things like stress and anxiety, never picking up a freeweight of any kind.
Breathing techniques, meditation, and mindfulness can actually be “exercises” you use every day to manage your stress and anxiety, so you can start to think better about yourself and the way your body looks. Of course, general physical exercise also helps with stress, so don’t be afraid to get more physical if your body responds positively to that method as well. Everyone is different, and some people may decompress better during meditation or writing in a journal, and others might decompress best doing squats at the barbell — neither way is better than the other, unless you’re doing what doesn’t feel right for you.
Feeling more positive about your body starts with changing the way you think, first and foremost. Whether that means getting rid of anxiety, changing your perspective, or not comparing yourself to others, something has to happen for you to make a change.
Trying Something New
Sometimes, trying something different with your body is the best way to see exactly what it can do. When you start to realize that, you can begin to see it in a more positive light. Don’t be afraid to search for classes and events outside of your traditional comfort zone, such as adult ballet classes. Even if you’ve never tried ballet before, it can help you to feel strong and relaxed all at once.
If you want to take things one step further, consider trying something like a burlesque class. Burlesque can help you to learn how to appreciate every inch of your body and how it can work for you. It’s a unique type of dancing that can tap into your sexuality, sensuality and so much more, whether you opt to do it with a partner or totally solo.
Burlesque classes might not be something you’ll find at your traditional college rec center, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try other more “traditional” types of exercise altogether. If you’ve never done traditional yoga before, for example, sign up for a class. A study by Purdue University actually found that taking part in any exercise class can help to reduce stress. In turn, you can feel more focused on appreciating your body for what it is — whether it’s through learning exotic dance or strengthening your core muscles.
Pilates is another great exercise option for boosting your emotional body positivity. It’s often compared to yoga, but Pilates focuses more on strengthening your muscles and letting go of stress by relaxing them, while yoga focuses more on stretching and breathing. The bottom line? Trying something new can allow you to see your body in a different light, which could be exactly what you need.
Feeling Confident By Being Yourself
If you’ve struggled with body positivity, the most important thing you can do is to break the cycle. Many people who aren’t happy with their bodies face this rut of feeling bad about themselves, and then feeling worse that they can’t get rid of those bad thoughts.
It can take a lot of mental and emotional “exercising” to get yourself out of those ruts and to break the cycle once and for all.
But finding new ways to move your body can help to break that cycle, too. Body-positive exercises can help to take you out of your comfort zone, which is the best thing to do in order to break out of a rut. So, whether you try dancing, burlesque, yoga, or something completely different, just make sure it’s an exercise that allows you to fully experience your own body. When you’re willing to break free from the negative cycle, you can begin to see what a powerful tool your own body is when you can simply be yourself.