The idea that challenging exercise is antithetical to self-care is an overcorrection for the worst of fitness and diet culture.
I really liked this article! It reminds me of an idea very prevalent in outdoor pursuits and self development industries (there’s a weird amount of overlap there) about type two fun. Type one fun is good in the moment, type two is not always fun doing it, but fun afterwards, looking back on it. :)
This is really interesting. Me and my boyfriend have actually had conversations about this recently, because he’s all about pushing, and I take a gentler approach to exercise because I’ve had a disordered experience in the past - but I still love exercise and movement. I need it to feel my best.
I think the main difference in pushing vs. punishing is intention and energy. How are you talking to yourself? What are your goals? You can quickly differentiate between an energy that’s encouraging, healthy, and loving vs. “punishing” or self-destructive.
Thanks for putting out such a topical article❤️
I’m currently reading Obama’s book and I was really inspired by that chapter and it really resonated with my running journey. Which is why I was quite confused when I read that it was harmful. I deal with body issues (as I think every woman does) and I didn’t see the harm in it at all.
Another great piece Mikala!
Great line: “Edge-pushing” refers to you meeting what you think are the boundaries of your ability and realizing they’re not cinderblock walls, they’re only beaded curtains.”
Having enjoyed a challenging 70 mile organized bike ride this weekend, I couldn’t agree more. I used to feel like pushing hard on the bike was “suffering,” but as my fitness has improved AND my mental framing has changed, the labeling of even the tough moments has changed. It can burn a bit on the uphills and still feel absolutely great. At the same time, I’ve learned that there are ways to adapt certain sports so they don’t hurt or cause injury. My entire relationship to running changed when I discovered the Galloway method of taking regular, timed walking breaks. Every person can find that balance of challenge and relief that works for them. Thanks for the inspiration.
I just came inside after digging a trench and moving very large rocks around the garden for an hour. HELL YES to pushing yourself, feeling powerful, and strengthening your resolve when things get uncomfortable.
I totally believe that movement of any kind is key to getting us through the hardest times in our lives. I know that after my husbands diagnosis of Alzheimer's, at 61 years old, my world came to a screeching halt. What about all the things we were going to do together when we retired? What about our plans?
After a brief fall into the dark depths of despair I picked myself up and dusted off. I looked in the mirror and said "time to get moving!" I pushed myself to start bicycling, going back to the gym, country line dancing, gardening, swimming, bought an RV and the list goes on. My point is ......that "movement "although in all different directions, saved me. It helped me escape from being frozen. It enabled me to revise my plan to fit my new circumstances. I felt better about myself in so many ways. I felt better about providing the best life possible for my husband in his final days. I felt capable, and I felt joyful about life again. We had to look forward to now because we are going to just keep moving. I was going to push myself and my husband toward something bigger and better than we had ever experienced while we still had time.
Pushing ourselves is as important for our minds as it is for our bodies. I am constantly amazed by how much more we can do than we ever imagine if we just give a little extra push.
The idea is a product of the general "cushy-ness" people are able to live their lives today. Those of us blessed to live in industrialized nations can live our lives completely free of suffering. If food and the temperature outside are never an issue for you then you are pretty far removed from traditional forms of external pain and stress. When much of your life is difficulty free then a hard workout turns into the hardest thing you've encountered all week. And it's very easy to find excuses to not do hard things.
Your link about sugar for kids doesn’t go to any research articles that actually support your assertion.
I personally find this article quite harmful in itself, and also incredibly snarky. It prompted me to unsubscribe, and I’m not telling you this because you’ll care, but because I think it’s important to be aware of how you can harm people with words (especially on something so delicate).