Fitness is not about what you can lose. It’s about what you can earn.
Six weeks after the birth of my second child, I had a moment of calculating that forever changed what I enjoy about exercise.
I sat in my OB-GYN waiting room, staring at the fluorescent green admission form on the clipboard in my lap. I tried to read the page through tears in my eyes as my baby slept quietly in his car seat next to me.
Do you often feel anxious, angry, or sad for no good reason?
Can you look forward to tomorrow?
Have you ever had thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby?
My first instinct was to lie. But behind the constant cries of anxious thoughts, I heard a quiet little voice in my head: Be honest, It said.
Until then, I was unable to admit what I knew in my heart to be true: I was struggling with postpartum depression.
They called my name and I walked into the clinic. When my doctor entered the room, she asked, “So how are you? “
Before I could answer, the floodgates went off. The sea of anxiety that had engulfed me for weeks flooded the room and I sobbed uncontrollably.
My doctor looked me in the eye and calmly got up to speed with me. She said, “I think you may have postpartum depression. How do you feel about starting the medication? “
I knew I needed to be treated, but wanted to start with my proven saving grace: movement.
Now don’t get me wrong. Postpartum depression is a very serious diagnosis and, in some cases, medication is the best treatment, without question. I knew it. But I also knew that physical activity could only help jumpstart my recovery.
I had not yet received medical approval to resume exercise, and as a Pilates instructor, dancer, and outdoor adventurer, movement had always been my favorite form of stress relief. Being allowed to exercise was key to my sanity. For the first time, I realized that it wasn’t just my body that craved movement; it was also my brain.
I replied: “What about exercise? Can I still move? Can I walk, run, anything?
My doctor took out his prescription pad and began to write. “Exercise, 30 minutes a day,” she wrote. She ripped the script from the notepad and handed it to me.
“Let’s try,” she said. “But I’ll call you to check in.” If that is not enough, we will try the drug. “
The next day I laced up my hiking boots, put the dog on a leash, strapped my baby in a sling, and headed out into the freshly fallen snow for a hike. Every step was therapeutic. Finally, I moved my body again, breathing in fresh air. The rogue thoughts that were shaking my brain began to align with my footsteps.
With each step my mind calmed down, focusing more on how my body was feeling right now than on the fear that kept me awake at night. My body was still healing and I was moving slowly, intentionally. I felt my muscles wake up. I wasn’t far from my peak physical condition, but that didn’t matter.
I was moving and that was enough.
I didn’t think of “losing baby weight” or forcing myself to do so. I only thought about clearing my head, one step at a time.
Slowly, steadily, I climbed this hill and knew this was the start of my recovery.
At the time, I had no idea that this experience would be so memorable. Looking back, I know that for the first time, I was embarking on a fitness journey motivated by what I knew I would gain – a better outlook, better mood, and better sleep – instead of what I did. thought I had to lose.
Too often we start training because we don’t like something about ourselves. Too often we start to exercise with the voice of an inner critic in our heads, telling us that we are not enough in a way – not strong enough, not thin enough, not motivated enough. We have the impression that we will be Following if we to lose.
Yet starting a fitness journey to appease that inner critic, rather than calm it down, usually results in frustration, disappointment, and missed commitments. We fight mentally and physically, working against our body, trying to make it conform to somebody else’s design standard. Inevitably, this makes the journey even more difficult.
Instead, what I found was that I was better able to see all that exercise could offer me when I started in a place of acceptance.
A successful fitness journey requires meeting exactly where you are now, relying on how you feel rather than how you look. From this perspective, you will be able to reap the benefits of working with your body rather than against it.
Soon, and sometimes without realizing it, you will enjoy everything you are capable of, even when you are just starting out.
With the launch of Healthline Fitness, we are delighted to meet you wherever you are on your fitness journey. We’re here to remind you that fitness isn’t what you have to lose; it’s about what you can earn.
Much of the larger fitness narrative is about weight loss and unrealistic expectations, but we believe fitness is more than that. When you move in a way that feels good, you’ll improve your mental and physical health, outlook, confidence, and courage – and that’s just the start. Because when you find the movement that moves you, you’ll naturally want to keep going for years to come.
Whether you are an experienced athlete or just curious about exercising, we’ll meet you where you are on your exercise journey and help you achieve realistic fitness goals tailored to your lifestyle.
Fitness is for everyone, and we are creating a digital space where everyone can find the support and resources they need. And while we’re at it, we’ll question the idea that “fit” somehow looks like.
Our writers, medical editors and video talents are experts in their fields. Certified strength and conditioning trainers, personal and athletic trainers, physiotherapists, and even biomechanics doctors create content that meets Healthline’s medical standards.
I pride myself on bringing evidence-based integrity and fitness content to our audience in an engaging, encouraging and empowering manner.
Just like you, when it comes to fitness, we try to fit it in any way we can.
Life is busy, and we get it. Yet to reap the benefits of exercise, you don’t need an expensive gym membership or a lot of extra time. Your body, room to move, an outside path, and just 22 minutes is really all you need to stick to a “move more” plan.
Why 22 minutes? Well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that we need 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (
Divide that by 7, and that’s about 22 minutes a day. We’ll help you commit to adjusting in 22 minutes of movement, and provide “Fit It In” tips in our articles and newsletters with easy, accessible ways to get your body moving more.
Often, the two biggest barriers to better fitness are time and self-confidence. We’ll help you find the time to make fitness a part of your lifestyle, and we’ll give you the information you need to feel comfortable and confident doing it.
In short, we’re committed to helping you find the fitness that’s right for you, and we can’t wait to see all the possibilities available to you when you do.
Thank you for accompanying us on this journey. Here’s to make you feel better than ever.
Senior Fitness Editor