The Love Your Body Workout

Your body is amazing! Celebrate it with these energy-boosting, mood-lifting, and most of all super-fun moves.

You could really use some exercise, so you search #fitspo on TikTok. But after scrolling videos of superthin, crazy ripped #fitfluencers, you feel anything but inspired. Does anyone really look like that?

Short answer: No. Many influencers use tricks to appear buffer or thinner than IRL. 

That’s a problem, because recent studies have shown that looking at images of unrealistic bodies on social media has been linked to low self-esteem and depression in teens. That’s exactly the opposite of the way exercise should make you feel.

So instead of exercising because you think you need to change your body, exercise to keep your already amazing body healthy and strong. “Movement should be fun,” says Naomi Finkelstein, a coach who teaches body-positive yoga. “When we’re focused on the way we look, we’re missing the point.”

If you think of working out as a celebration of your body, you’ll experience some awesome benefits. Finkelstein says that the teens she teaches feel more confident, empowered, and connected to their bodies and their emotions.

 So check out the fun, easy, body-positive exercises on the following pages. Then get ready to start appreciating your absolutely incredible, totally perfect physique. Your body will thank you!

Stretch It Out

You’ve probably heard that you should stretch before and/or after you exercise. But what if we told you that stretching can be exercise? Stretching benefits your flexibility and activates a part of your nervous system that regulates stress, helping you feel calmer and more relaxed. 

What to do: Try any of these made-for-the-bed moves before you go to sleep at night or first thing in the a.m. While you stretch, send a mental “thank you” to your muscles and joints for all they do to help your body move.

Dance for Joy

We dare you to dance to your favorite song without cracking a smile. Tricky, right? That’s because dancing increases levels of the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin in your brain. It’s even been linked to reduced depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescents with mild depression. In other words, it makes for an amazing body-positive workout.

What to do: This routine only requires blasting your playlist of choice and rocking out like the superstar you are—hairbrush microphone optional. To make the most of it, get your whole body in on the act. 

Clap your hands over your head or pump your fists in the air, jump around, shake your hips. If you move enough to get out of breath, you’ll be getting a cardiovascular workout too. As you dance, remember to appreciate your circulatory system for pumping the blood you need to rock out.

Find Your Strength

You engage multiple muscles for pretty much everything you do, so a little strength training can make a big difference. But this isn’t about spending hours in the gym. Studies show that even brief strength training can improve body image. 

What to do: Lifting weights can be boring—if the weights are boring. To add some fun, try weight training with items you find around the house, like cans of beans, bottles of water, bags of rice—you name it. Anything that you can hold comfortably in your hands works. Start with something light that you can lift easily, and slowly work up to heavier items. Try to do the following exercise 8-10 times in a row, then rest, then do 8-10 more. As you lift, picture all of the muscles in your body that are working together to make that movement happen. Aren’t your muscles amazing?

Strength-building move to try:

Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold your weighted item close to your chest. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees and lower your body like you’re sitting back in a chair. Be sure to keep your knees over your feet and your eyes facing straight ahead. Press through your feet to straighten your legs and rise back to standing.

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