Nurturing Exercise: Hard Work Doesn’t Have to Hurt

bernie salazar and rebecca scritchfieldThis guest blog comes from Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM HFS, a Washington, D.C. based dietitian and weight management expert. Together with Bernie Salazar, at-home winner of The Biggest Loser, she co-created “The Nurture Principles” – Five mantras to help people change their lives and find wellness within.

I have a new client – a very lovely 40-year-old female who regularly appears on national TV. She has so many great qualities she can’t see because right now she is overpowered by her excessive weight, food choices, and lack of exercise. She was convinced I was going to give her a gym workout to follow and she dreaded the thought. Imagine her surprise when I asked her to tell me exercises she thought would be fun. She responded with “I never thought about fun.” Right there is the reason she is not active. Why would you move your body if it is not fun? How likely will you be to repeat it if you don’t get the feel-good benefit? Not likely. Is physical activity you despise nurturing? No way.

swimmingExercise works when you repeat it; when you look forward to it; when you embrace it. Exercise should make you feel good. It should be nurturing. Start with what sounds fun and just schedule a time to do it! My client chose water jogging. She planned to stay in the water for 30 minutes and ended up staying 45.  She had fun. She said she felt bouyant and stronger than expected. Most of all, she felt successful.

When you start with nurturing exercise, it becomes easier to nurture yourself in other ways, such as eating healthy and managing stress. Together these behaviors nurture your whole self, which allows you to nurture those around you – your family, friends, and co-workers.

If you aren’t exercising or feel unenthusiastic about what you’re doing, check in with yourself. What sounds fun? You have the potential to get way more out of exercise than sweat and calorie burn. You just have to approach it from the inside out and nurture yourself.

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