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Depending on your outlook, pounding it out on the treadmill can make you feel as if you’re flying – or seem a bit futile. Whatever you’re doing, if you’re not enjoying yourself, it might be time to try something new to catch that high.
“Finding an exercise that works for you is important, whether it’s low- or high-impact classes or a combination of both,” Eék explains. “Some people prefer to get me-time while exercising, because doing things alone allows for reflection and there’s no direct social pressure. For others, exercising by themselves can make them feel lonely. It’s easier to feel motivated when other people are involved, and they can provide motivation.”
And research from Santa Clara University in the US shows that being healthy is catching – other people’s behaviour rubs off on us, making working out together a great option.
“I’d advise trying different workouts to find out what suits you best,” Eék says. “It might even differ from week to week.” Eventually, you should find out what gives you the best exercise buzz. There really is something out there for everyone. If you feel great about your body, wearing Lycra in a room lined with mirrors isn’t a problem – but if you’re quite selfconscious, it can be a nightmare. Research from Marquette University in Canada has revealed that concerns about body image can stop us wanting to work out, and if you feel insecure about your body, an hour surrounded by those who are further along in their fitness journey can be intimidating.
“All of us feel unhappy with the way we look at some point, and these thoughts are normal when they’re only fleeting, and they can be worked on,” Eék says. “But if they’re uncontrollable, you could have body dysmorphic disorder ( BDD), which prevents you from seeing yourself as you are.
“A BDD diagnosis can be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy, during which a therapist can introduce you to coping techniques and methods.”
“Make a rule to not check the mirror more than three times while at the gym, and don’t step on the scales more than once a week,” Eék advises. And if you suspect you may be suffering from BDD, see your doctor right away. Exercise has been proven to relieve stress and improve mood, but too many worries can be overwhelming – no matter what workout you’re doing.
“If you notice that exercising isn’t helping you and you suspect your bad mood is due to factors other than exercise, I’d advise you to seek professional help,” Eék says. “It’s always better to be proactive than reactive and seek help in time.”
If you’re generally stressed or anxious and negative thoughts are intruding even during a workout, it’s worth paying your doctor a visit to work out what’s going on.