This post is the first of in a short series about why we should consider physical activity as a life partner instead of someone to date for a few months.
The expression “‘Till death do us part” reflects the tremendous commitment people make when they enter into a marriage. They forecast the years we aim to spend with the partner we select for the rest of our lives. Most of us decide to form life partnerships because we believe they will nurture and enhance our quality of life in some or many ways.
Despite the fact that many marriages don’t last until death, the intention to keep this life-long commitment is meaningful and puts life partnerships in a special and unique category. Making a life-long commitment is also something we might think about applying to the realm of physical activity.
Over the years, I’ve learned that the core element of whether a woman stays active throughout her adult life is her RELATIONSHIP with physical activity.
If pressure or stress undergirds this relationship there will be anxiety associated with the very idea of exercising. If being physically active makes her feel incompetent or like she is failing, she’ll develop a disdain for doing it. In contrast, if moving her body gives a woman an opportunity to nurture herself in some meaningful way, she will feel connected both to being physically active and to her body. In this scenario, physical activity feels like and actually becomes a key life partner; one that cultivates a sense of well-being as well as helps us to fulfill our dreams and life ambitions.
Person A. Sharon’s relationship with physical activity is based on self-respect and comes out of a commitment to cultivate a life that is joyful, energetic, healthy and fulfilling. She experiences a desire to move her body.
Person B. Nancy’s relationship with physical activity is based on trying to conform to a “gold standard” of body size, weight, type of exercise. Sarah dreads the very idea of moving her body.
Unfortunately, most women in midlife have formed a relationship with being physically active that reflects Nancy’s experience. As you can imagine, Sarah is much LESS likely than Nancy to stay physically active throughout her lifetime.
Many women have LEARNED to have a negative and unproductive relationship with a behavior that should be as natural and desirable as wanting to sleep. But the key word is learned.
Our relationship with physical activity reflects our socialization and past experiences. We have learned to perceive and approach physical activity mainly as a tool to repair our bodies instead of an ally for enhancing our quality of life.
In the next post, I’ll get into more detail about transforming physical activity your life-enhancing partner.
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For more about why midlife is a great time to change your relationship with physical activity please visit my website and blog, Women’s Essential Steps. [PLEASE LINK “Women’s Essential Steps” WITH THIS URL – www.essentialsteps.net]