Women And Exercise: What Almost Everyone Gets Wrong About Being More Productive


I read this post from the wonderful Scott Dinsmore a few weeks ago, and it’s been simmering in my brain ever since. Maybe it’s the fact that spring is coming or the brouhaha over women’s contraception in the news, but I just keep coming back to the idea that when it comes to exercise advice, everyone’s got it almost right. Almost, but not quite.

First off, I have deep respect for Scott Dinsmore and his dedication to waking the world up to the chance to live a passionate life. He’s a genuine guy who’s gone after an unconventional life and made connections with amazing people. Without a doubt, he’s an inspiration.

All of the content in this post that proclaims that exercise is it when it comes to living a powerful existence — totally true. His tips for making the change to a more active lifestyle — right on.

Except . . .

What if you don’t want to be more productive?

In this day and age of faster microprocessors, life hacks and instant fame, I know I’m putting myself in the crosshairs for even suggesting this, but here I am. I want something more from exercise than increased productivity. I want to come home to myself.

We’ve all lived in a performance world since we were small, and it’s done some serious damage. We’ve felt the fear of not measuring up in school, in sports, in looks, in job achievement. As adults, it’s there every day as we try to be good parents, partners, friends, co-workers, employees, bosses, children, and citizens. Everywhere we turn, we find the question, “How am I measuring up?” Even if it’s not spoken, that nagging fear, that threshold of shame is so close.

Women know what I’m talkin’ about. Moms especially. From the time our eyes open until they close at night, it’s all hurry, rush, push and hustle. There’s always more to be done, and faster. We’re up to our armpits in productivity, baby. I’m proposing we need an antidote, not an increased dose of the problem.

Where is our refuge from our mass of anxiety? Where can we find a gentle, safe place where we can summon our power without wondering about our worth?

We all need a space to call our own, outside of expectations and judgement. And I am bound and determined to reclaim exercise for that very purpose. It can serve us best when used as a haven rather than a tool.

I lost almost 20 pounds in last year, and that was extremely empowering. Back then, exercise was a means to an end for me, and I made it work for a while. I got past my fear of being slow and clutzy. I went from a non-athlete to exercise regularly. The formula worked. The readout on the scale hit the target. Champagne! Fireworks!

And then I really, truly didn’t know what to do with myself. Whaddya do after Mission Accomplished?

Since I have an oh-so easily distracted chipmunk brain, it would have been easy to look around for the next shiny thing to grab my attention. But I was hooked. Hooked on the power in my body.  Craving the natural buzz I got from being in motion. Loving the space I made when I could go, go . . .

In my running shoes or on my bike, I was away from the judging, fearful part of my brain. I found peace and relief within myself. It was all about feeling good.

I can hardly believe it myself, but I’m here to offer you a scandalous possibility. Exercise doesn’t have to be a painful path to some better, thinner, faster, stronger you. Forget the scale, the the speed, the reps, the distance covered.

The real salvation is simply in doing any sort of exercise, just for the joy of being in your own skin.

Forget the “expert” advice. Take ten minutes. Come on home to you.

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