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Alternative Exercise to the Gym

Why It's OK to Hate Going to the Gym

I was always fairly active throughout my childhood and teens, and by that I don't mean doing cross country and fun runs in my spare time. I'm still not at the point in my adulthood where I could ever understand the concept of a run being "fun". To stay active, I danced a solid five to six days a week, but dancing isn't considered sporty, so I thought I wasn't the "sporty-type."

I wasn't particularly interested in PE at school (and that's an understatement). I preferred the changing-room talk about who had started shaving their legs and how to apply Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse correctly. And don't even get me started on the infamous bleep test; it still fills me with dread. My complete lack of competitiveness in PE and having more interest in current school affairs meant I instantly boxed myself in as someone who wasn't into fitness, of any kind.

However, I danced. A lot. I was taking ballet, tap, contemporary, and competitive Irish dance lessons all throughout my teens. It gave me strength I didn't even realise I had until I quit (hello calf muscle turned to fat). I've always loved exercise that consumes so much brain power that I forget I'm even exercising. But because I wasn't a gym-goer, I didn't think I was into — or any good at — fitness.

What has taken me until my 20s to realise is that you don't have to like the gym to keep fit. In fact, I hate the gym and only now am I finally accepting that that is OK.

I gave it a really good shot whilst at Uni, attempting to avoid the almost inevitable weight gain. I enjoyed going with my friends but, honestly, we spent most of the time chatting about our relationships. Time well spent, in my opinion, but hardly beneficial to my health. Shortly after becoming semicomfortable with being at the gym by myself, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and my gym routing came to a halt after I had to have surgery. Following that, recovery was a priority, and then I was finishing up University, and soon came graduation. My short-lived relationship with the gym was over.

I'm now over a year out of Uni and still haven't been back to the gym, but I've finally learned that I can be active by doing other things. I have really gotten into yoga, which has helped my endometriosis immensely, and I recently started Pilates with my mum. Whilst I've got a long way to go in terms of where I want my fitness level to be, I have finally stopped kidding myself that one day I'll get back into the gym and find it to be a therapeutic activity. Here is my advice to all those in same position: stop beating yourself up that your housemate goes to the gym five times a week and you "only do a bit of Pilates". Be healthy, and do fitness that works for your body.

I'll take a vinyasa over the treadmill any day.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Rima Brindamour
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