By Little_secretary 601 views
I’m addicted to exercise, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. We all struggle with self-image and the way our body looks, and I control my own thoughts about myself through netball, running, working out at the gym and yoga.
Exercise compulsion is a real and dangerous addiction and I’ve finally managed to find a mostly healthy balance in my relationship with exercise, but it has been a journey. People who suffer from exercise addiction can often have feelings of shame and anxiety if they miss a workout. It can often go hand-in-hand with eating disorders, but I can thankfully say I don’t suffer any and feel true compassion for those who do.
When I realised that there was a whole category on ATW for sportswear, I started to understand that buyers might be interested in the relationship I’ve had with my exercise kit. I also started to wonder if there might be other sellers who struggle with their relationship with sport and exercise, which made me want to write this blog.
I always loved track and athletics in school and was often one of the fastest in my class. It only felt natural that I started wanting to run further distances on a regular basis as I started working in an office job, sitting down all day. I loved the way that your mind just goes completely clear during a run and all you focus on is breathing and moving your body forwards. At one point I would run up to 10k, 3-4 times a week and would beat myself up if I missed a run, ending up running just to punish myself.
During lockdown in 2020, I went out for a run and tripped on the pavement. I ended up cutting my knee open and I still have a scar to this day. It took me a year and a lot of courage to bring myself to go running again, and I would only do it in parks or along the river on dirt tracks. I can’t bring myself to run on the concrete anymore. Nowadays, I don’t run on a regular basis at all; I’ve just completely fallen out of love with it. Sometimes I feel like a failure for no longer being a “runner”, but I do still have the shorts, tops and sports bras as well as the trainers that have carried me over so many miles and kilometres.
I’ve played netball in local leagues for as long as I can remember. I’m not a particularly competitive person but I absolutely adore the feeling of being in a sports team and coming together over our wins and losses. Some players in the team are competitive and get emotional when we lose. In the past, I’ve questioned whether I’m a bad team player because I don’t mind the outcome as much as others do, but at the end of the day, I just love playing the sport and being part of the team and try to focus on that.
I’ve travelled around the UK with my team, staying overnight to compete. I appreciate this feeds into many fantasies about all-female sports teams, and whilst the stories aren’t all true, we are a group of females who have bonded over our love of the sport.
I have a few items of old netball uniforms that I no longer wear but have held onto for sentimental reasons. I do still play netball on a weekly basis and I’m sure I’ll continue to do so for many years as I feel it forms a part of my identity.
It was an ex-boyfriend who first got me into working out at the gym. I was very slim through all the cardio I’d been doing, but he didn’t think my body was attractive enough and told me I should build more muscle. The one piece of advice I can offer anyone is to never change the way you look for someone, as that relationship may not last forever but the relationship you have with yourself will.
I started following an exercise programme he had designed for me, weighing my protein and counting my macros. As it was all so strict, I found myself getting obsessive about what I ate and how I moved my body to make the most of it. I’m pleased to say that habit, along with that relationship, is a thing of the past.
I still go to the gym 3-5 times per week, but I try to focus on functional fitness and movements I enjoy, rather than a strict programme. My goal for this year is to increase the weight of my deadlifts and cleans. I’d also like to build my pull-up strength and be able to hold a handstand. Setting goals like this, rather than those relating to food intake, help me keep a healthy relationship with working out at the gym, as well as a constant supply of sweaty socks 😉
I started yoga last year as a way to manage my mental health and practice meditation. I have to admit, I used to think yoga wasn’t “real exercise” as I didn’t think it was as physically taxing as cardio or lifting heavy weights, but I’m pleased to say I’ve changed my mind.
Not only is yoga great for the mind, but it also vastly improves flexibility and strength. I’ve tried hot yoga, where they turn the temperature up in the room and you sweat buckets, but having warm muscles and joints allows for more flexibility and a full range of movement.
Over the years, I’ve fallen into and out of love with various forms of sport and exercise, but netball has always stayed with me. I think in a way I need the team around me and the format of a game to remind me why I’m exercising and to stop me from getting too carried away. Having a small goal, whether it’s to defend the ball or work on improving a specific movement seems to help keep my workout habit healthy.
Since I’m so active, I’ve been able to sell my sweaty socks and some other gym clothing on ATW, which has helped make my workouts enjoyable. I never feel pressured to exercise and prepare an order when I’m not feeling like it, as buyers are always happy to wait a few days. I also feel it has given me a form of excitement and something to look forward to when exercising.
If there’s anyone else out there who also struggles with their relationship with exercise, I’d love to hear from you, whether it’s over-exercise or struggling to be as active as you’d like.
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