A quick scroll through Instagram these days and you’re likely to come across someone with a lean physique posing for the camera, possibly doing a handstand. Turn to the comments and you’ll find someone admiring this person for their body, professing how this picture has given them “body goals”. But is this kind of body what we should be striving for?
The answer is no. Too often we’re usually striving for the ‘perfect body’ and it’s much more important to have a healthy, strong and functioning body than it is to have six-pack abs and zero fat. In fact, fat actually plays an important role in our health, particularly for women in the regulation of their sex hormones, which is why females tend to naturally have higher body fat percentage than men.
Besides this, comparing yourself to someone on the internet is a recipe for low self-esteem. It’s important to be realistic about your body goals and compare apples to apples. In other words, it’s more helpful to track your own progress and compare your own body over a period of time rather than measure yourself against someone with an entirely different body composition.
If striving for the ‘perfect’ body isn’t the way to go, what should your body goals look like?
A great overarching goal is to maintain a strong, healthy body as you transition across your years. We want to maintain our mobility as we age and this should be a key focus. If your primary body goal is managing your body weight, not only are you going to drive yourself crazy as your body fluctuates, you’re missing the whole point. Your health is so much more important than your weight—and this should always be your number one body goal. Particularly since your health includes your weight whereas focusing on weight alone often means you take measures that can detract from your health and create more problems in the long run.
With this in mind, here are some great health-related body goals to strive for.
Body Goal #1: Strong muscles
You don’t need to become a body builder but sustaining good muscle mass is important. Not just for protecting your bones, it also plays a key role in maintaining your metabolism and powering you with good energy. The thing is, from 30 onwards, you will start to lose your muscle mass unless you actively maintain it—so make muscle building a priority. We suggest our strength class!
Body Goal #2: Flexibility
You want to be able to bend down and tie your shoes as you age right? Think about a leaf as it ages—it starts out green and limber. As it ages, however, it turns brown and becomes stiff and brittle. Flexibility is vital for retaining mobility—not to mention reducing pain associated with tension. If flexibility is the body goal, try one of our yoga classes.
Body Goal #3: Nourished cells
There’s no point focusing on how the outside of your body looks if you’re not putting the right nutrients inside your body! Eat in a way that consists of mostly fresh vegetables, some fruit and other whole, real foods. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.