Just Because I Don't Run, Doesn't Mean I'm Not Fit

I decided to go for a run tonight. I just got back to campus yesterday, and I wanted to see all of my favorite spots and possibly find some new ones. I thought a run through campus would be great for that. And it would have been, except I don't like to run, and I'm not good at it. I ended up walking more than running.

During high school, I had a doctor's note that said I couldn't run. Then when I got to college, I didn't feel a need to run because (1) I hadn't in so long, and (2) there were other ways to stay active. I got into yoga, weightlifting, and a little bit of kick boxing.This past year was the first year I truly ran. I ran a 5k, and I enjoyed it and said I was going to run more. I haven't. At all.

I feel like there is a belief that if you are not a runner or weightlifter, that you aren't active or you can't be in shape. I'm guilty of it. I sometimes think that because I don't like to run that I'm not active. I also find myself thinking that people who just do yoga can't be in shape. Neither of these is true. There are so many ways to be active that don't involve weightlifting or running: swimming, yoga, pilates, dance, Zumba, biking, kickboxing, hiking, walking, rock-climbing, martial arts, cardio, bodyweight exercises, etc. There are so many ways, and we need to stop acting like the only way to be fit is to run or lift weights. Granted those are two easy and popular ways, but they are not the only ways.

So how can we change this mentality that if you aren't a runner or weightlifter, you aren't fit? First off, try new methods of working out. Take a yoga class, go to pilates, go for a bike ride or swim, and see how your body reacts to it. I've done some yoga classes that left me too sore to move the next day. I've also spent days in the weight room and wasn't sore at all the next day. Next, find what challenges you, but more importantly what you like and what your body responds to. Do more of that. Recognize that this activity keeps you active and healthy, even if it may not be running. Encourage your friends to join you sometimes. Join them when they work out as well.

Another way to break this mentality is to understand that everyone is different. Just because you are good at running, doesn't mean that this is the only way to be fit. Same with yoga, weightlifting, and any other form of exercise. You can be healthy and fit, but not have a good 5k time. You can be fit without being able to lift over 100 pounds. You can be in shape without being super flexible. Let's stop comparing our workouts and instead celebrate being in shape and the amazing things our bodies can do.


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