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Sep 13, 2023


Fitness is not for everyone.

Let’s also face it – the definition of fitness and the look of fitness is not for everyone.

Fitness and exercise are not meant to have a mold that everyone from every walk of life must fit in.  It is critical and very important that one find exercise activities that they not only enjoy, but that fit their lifestyle.

For instance, a person who has limited mobility in their leg or knee, should not go and join an exercise class that has most of its moves that require putting major pressure on their leg and using their knee in a way that will cause more pain or swelling.  A person who has just recovered from surgery and getting back into the exercise scene, shouldn’t go on a hike with hills and rugged terrain.  There are just too many possibilities for a fall and a re-injury.

I think that many people do not exercise at all because they feel like they have to do what the next person is doing.  They must look like the woman standing next to them.  They must be able to keep up with the 12:00 pacer in their group.

Remember: there is an alternative!

Do exercises and develop a fitness routine that fits you!

Our bodies are changing as we age.  Exercises you used to do years ago may just not be well suited for you now.  That is okay.  Do not body shame yourself or your ability. Doing so can cause your mind to totally shut down from possessing any desire to workout at all.  We must remember, that working out and exercising is also 80% mental.  If your mind is against it, you won’t have the motivation or desire to do it.  At all!

Exercise variation is essential.  There are many benefits to varying your exercise routine, such as decreased risk of injury.

Tips for avoiding injury while exercising:

  1. Take time to properly warm up.
  2. Don’t overestimate your abilities.
  3. Learn proper technique and remind yourself to use it every time!
  4. Eat a balanced diet.
  5. Drink plenty of water daily.
  6. Listen to your body.
  7. Don’t skip rest days.

It is important to recognize that one can avoid overuse injuries.  What are overuse injuries?  When your body goes through the same motions over and over again, it is called repetitive strain injury.  This type of injury occurs when you do repetitive motions, such as running, hitting a tennis ball, or doing the same swimming stroke.  By mixing up your activities, you give those overused muscles, joints, and ligaments a chance to rest and recover before putting them into action again. And if you do get injured, performing a different activity that doesn’t strain the same part of the body will allow you to stay in shape and heal at the same time.

Remember I mentioned exercise is 80% mental?  Keeping your body in exercise mode also keeps your mind in the same state.  You don’t get out of the habit of exercising while healing that part of your body that is injured.

Workout boredom and competitively working out is a thing.  If you find yourself literally counting down the seconds left in your elliptical workout or can hardly stand the sight of the same streets as you run down them, it’s time to switch up your routine. Keep your workouts from getting stale by constantly trying new things. Venture into a Zumba class for a total change of pace, or take a Twerk class!  If you are working out only to beat your friend’s pace and be able to proudly post it on social media, remember, repetitive workouts can lead to injury.  You don’t have to experience a fall while running to become injured.

It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are.  With each passing day, our bodies are changing and aging.  It is wise to choose alternative workouts from time to time and allow our joints, muscles, bones, ligaments, and minds to rest, relax, relate, and release.

Your body will thank you for the alternative!

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in the Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.