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Top 3 Reasons To Exercise When You’re Skinny!
By Katrina Conte - We're always told that exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that people who exercise regularly have healthier weights, lower cholesterol, better cognitive function, etc. But we're also told nowadays that people should exercise to lose weight. This can present a problem for those of us who either want to gain or maintain their weight. So what should you do?
You should still work out!
I know its discouraging when you talk about trying a new workout routine, you walk into a gym, or you go through the store check-out with work out videos and you hear "but you don't need to work out, you're skinny!" We all know that being skinny doesn't necessarily mean you are in-shape!
As a disclaimer, I am not a personal trainer or a nutritionist. Most of this blog is based on my own personal experiences. I'm not even a work-out guru! Ideally I'm involed in mixed martial arts (krav maga and kickboxing) and that is where my workouts mostly come from. But I am going to give you some reasons about why it's important for you to work out, even when you're thin (and I will give you some tips for getting started).
First Reason: Do it for your health!
Guess what, skinny Minnies and Mickies. No matter how slim you are, you still have muscles and joints, and they need to be used! Ever feel winded after going up a flight of stairs or dashing across a parking lot? I have, for sure! It means that your body is not being exercised correctly. It means that your physical endurance needs improvement. No worries, though, this can easily be remedied with a steady and consistent work out routine.
Being naturally thin does not mean that you never have to worry about high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, or other illnesses that are sometimes associated with being overweight. In fact, this can be dangerous because those of us who are on the thinner side may not get these things checked out, thinking that our metabolisms will protect us! Like everyone else, we slender people need to keep a healthy diet combined with physical and mental exercises to keep both body and mind strong and sharp.
Worried about bulking up too much? Don't be. It's a myth that working out will turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger! You will tone up, though. It's a great way to gain weight, actually, because firm muscle weighs more than fat. Just remember to increase your calorie intake so you can nourish those muscles and maintain a healthy weight!
Second Reason: Do it for your mind!
Working out is a great way to release endorphins in your brain, contributing to a better mood. When you're down, you may not feel like hitting the gym, but releasing that negative energy through physical activity will really help! It's a great stress release and a mood booster!
I participate in a very rigorous one-hour kickboxing workout about twice a week. It is HARD. This workout really pushes me to my limits, even when I do feel in shape. At least once a session, I want to give up and sit down. But I don't. Why? Because it is so much more rewarding to push through and then realize that you can make it, even when you don't want to. This is an important lesson that you can carry with you in any facet of your life! Giving up is easy, but pressing on even when you're tired and conquering that thing that almost defeats you is so much more fulfilling in the end! Your workout doesn't always have to be difficult but do challenge yourself sometimes!
Of course, this does not mean that you shouldn't know and respect your limits. Never work out to the point where you feel unwell or overheated. Take precautions, drink lots of water, and stop if you have to. If you feel faint or if you start to see white sports in your vision, stop what you are doing immediately and take a break! There is a difference between pressing on when things get challenging and hurting yourself by trying to do something way outside your limits! Overworking your body is just as harmful as under working it.
Third Reason: Do it to be an example!
People are going to be more likely to work out if they see their friends and loved ones exercising and enjoying it. Working out is good for everyone, big or small!
How To Get Started
- Determine what your workout style is. Do you want to work out in a group? In a gym with a partner? At home by yourself? Everyone is different. I prefer a group setting with involvement, and I want my workout to include self-defense, so martial arts was perfect for me. Also, working with people who are at more advanced levels that I am pushes me to work harder, as opposed to intimating me. On the other hand, I know people who would never be comfortable working out in a group and prefer to follow work out videos at home. Choose what's best for you!
- Make time. You may not have the time or even the desire to workout every day. Sometimes I only get in 2 one-hour workouts a week, though I try for 3-4. Frequency depends a good deal on what you want to get out of your workout, but the most I've heard recommended is at least 4 3o minute sessions a week. It is also recommended that you take at least 1 full day off from working out a week.
- Determine your health level. If you are very underweight and are feeling weak or overly tired, you may need to work on weight gain before you start a workout routine. Don't put too much stress on your body! Also consider a discussion with your doctor if you have conditions like asthma or anemia, so you can make sure you stay safe when you get started. And, no matter your health and fitness level, drink lots of water!!
- Don't let anyone get you down. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't need to work out. Do it because it's good for you, not because you should have to justify yourself to others! If anyone is truly concerned (some eating disorders may include obsessive, drawn-out, daily workouts, and you know that being thin already makes you a target for the anorexia label), don't get offended. Just calmly explain why exercise is important for your over-all health and well being! You only get one body so take good care of it. :)
Yes, I’m Skinny. No, I’m Not Anorexic.
I can't tell you how many times I've had to defend my skinny frame.
Usually to other women who were just as insecure about their own body.
I think it's time we stop putting each other down, women!
Ladies and girls of all body types and sizes: let's promise to never hurt any other woman by criticizing her body.
Beauty doesn't fit a certain size or mold.
More 'naturally skinny' blog posts:
Keira Knightley: Defends her naturally thin frame
I love Keira Knightley. She's not only a super talented and beautiful actress. To me, she's someone I've personally always been able to relate to, at least from a body-image point. She's naturally thin, just like me. And just like in real life, you don't meet a lot of naturally thin women.
Over the years, Keira has had to defend her thin body frame numerous times, always putting down rumors about being 'anorexic.'
I personally know what it's like for people to question your body image. I've dealt with a lot of teasing in high school. And I exactly remember where I stood and what I was doing when my dad looked me in the eyes and asked me "Are you sure you're eating enough? There is nothing you need to tell me?" I was 14 years old, and it crushed my body image.
I'm not anorexic
But I don't know what it's like when magazines write about your body, and analyze it like it's a piece of meat going up for auction. I don't know what it's like when newspapers show pictures of your belly somehow proving you're not eating enough, or when your body is being altered in movie posters because your breasts aren't big enough to sell the movie.
And that's exactly what Keira has had to deal with.
"The anorexic stuff — It's always going to have an impact, so I think it did hit pretty hard," Keira Knightley told Allure magazine in the December issue. "Because you go, oh, maybe that's right! I knew I wasn't anorexic, but maybe my body is somehow not right."
I think all women, no matter what body size or shape, go through a phase of uncertainty. Comparing yourself to other women with other shapes and sizes. Not knowing why your body is shaped the way it is.
Yes, some women are naturally thin. And no, it's not ok to call us anorexic!
I'm so glad to have Keira Knightley as a role model for all us naturally thin girls. Sometimes I just want to write her a letter and thank her!
Did you know that Keira actually sued Daily Mail for saying she had anorexia? She won nearly $6,000. And she won the truth.
She won the right to stand up for yourself. She showed the world that YES, some women are naturally thin. And NO, it's not ok to call them anorexic!