In my class the other day, my professor was talking about how many people still view exercise as a hobby – as if it’s something only for talented athletic people. The word hobby implies that it’s something someone does for fun once in a while. The problem is that hobbies come and go. Interest fades and motivation disappears.
In order to tackle the obesity epidemic, exercise needs to become a habit. Trying to lose weight with nutrition alone is very difficult. The combo of increased exercise with good nutrition can have some incredible results, though. Exercise can’t be a hobby that someone does when they’re feeling in the mood. It needs to be a lifestyle.
Over the years, running has developed into part of my identity. I’m Laurel, 20 years old, a college student, a lover of Ben and Jerry’s, and a runner. It’s part of who I am. Running is as normal as eating and sleeping to me. I don’t feel like me unless I get my run in. Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy my off days. I think one day off a week keeps me normal. It gives me more time on my busiest school day to get more homework in and maybe a little more time for sleeping.
If someone asked me if running was my hobby then I would probably give them a dirty look. The same look I would give someone if they asked if I was a jogger – that’s for another post, though. I’m a runner and it’s part of who I am. My identity isn’t solely based on my performances (a mistake I made when I was younger), but running is a part of me.
I had it the easy way, though. I fell in love with running at a very young age and was never really inactive. Unfortunately, for plenty of people this isn’t the case. They’ve been inactive for years and THAT has become their habit. Changing that lifestyle can seem daunting. Exercise might hurt at first. They’re not used to the “good pain”. Once that initial hurdle is jumped over, though, things get easier. It becomes fun and isn’t as hard.
Exercise shouldn’t be a hobby people pick up once in a while. Exercise needs to be a habit – something that’s ingrained into people’s daily lives – something that’s as normal as eating and sleeping.