We’ve all been there — trying a new workout routine or fitness class because you’re convinced it’s going to improve your physical appearance in some way. Whether it’s losing weight, gaining weight, toning, defining, or trimming your body, we’ve all tried it (or are currently trying it).
But recently, more of us are pursuing physical fitness activities and routines that target more than just our physical appearance. According to a recent global consumer report, the leading reason that people exercise is to feel better mentally.
Over three quarters of Americans believe being physically active helps their mental health. In the past year, 37% of Americans have incorporated physical fitness into their routine to help support their mental wellbeing while 14% have added yoga and 9% have added wellness treatments like acupuncture to their routines.
As with many other social trends and movements, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the way we approach physical fitness. As a whole, we are more aware of our physical health and our ability to fight off disease than we were before the pandemic. This, combined with an overall decrease in our mental and emotional well-being due to the events of the last two years, has led many of us to look at physical fitness from a new lens.
This is not to say that there’s no place for purely physical fitness in your routine. But any of us who have ever exercised know that physical activity is never just physical, and almost always makes us feel better emotionally too.
Pursuing holistic fitness is not just about replacing your tried and true gym routine with yoga or acupuncture. It’s about shifting the way we think about physical activity. As we move away from the pursuit of purely physical changes toward the pursuit of true physical well-being, working out becomes less of an item on our to-do list, and more of a natural routine that we look forward to.
The more in tune we become with our holistic well-being, the more we will seek out physical activity that benefits us from the inside out.
So for this week’s Wednesday Wisdom, we invite you to think about your approach to physical fitness. Here are some questions to reflect on.
- What do you think of when you hear the phrase “physical well-being?”
- What motivates you to exercise?
- What does it mean to you to be physically fit?
- What forms of physical fitness do you most enjoy? How do you feel physically after you engage in these activities? How do you feel mentally/emotionally?
- Are there any changes you would like to make to your current physical activity (ie. level of activity, form of exercise)? How do you think you would feel if you made these changes?
- For organizations: how does this trend toward holistic fitness affect your employees or your organization as a whole?
And as always, we invite you to share your thoughts and reply to others in the comments below!