Why Exercise Benefits Your Heart

No fewer than three friends have told me that kettlebells saved their lives.

My beautiful client, Melissa. Mother of two (soon to be three!) and warrior woman. 

My beautiful client, Melissa. Mother of two (soon to be three!) and warrior woman. 

Their hearts had become so heavy that only learning to lift something heavier could ease the burden.

I've heard stories of yoga pulling beautiful humans back from the brink of despair. Of dance saving relationships. Of running creating a safe space for emotions that otherwise felt unmanageable.

Movement has healed more wounds for me than all the thousands of dollars I've poured into therapy. (No offense to the three people who changed my life with their care. Maybe some offense to the 1-2 who were highly educated assholes.)

I play (mediocre but entertaining) tennis and lift big metal objects. I have friends who teach hip-hop, perform on aerial silks, run, climb mountains, pick up other humans for the pure joy of flipping them around... and these friends move because it will help them live longer and happier and more compassionate lives.

But...

Ready for the plot twist?

Not all exercise is good for your heart.

The first question I ask clients after their initial health history is "What is a non-weight related goal you have for the next 12 weeks?" And maybe you'd be surprised at how many people have to really stop and think about why on earth they would cultivate movement for any other reason than feeling inadequate in some way. 

One of my my frustrating training stories is of a client who only came to the gym when she was in full "I hate my body" mode. She'd disappear for months, reappear to demand boot-camp style training until the weight came off, then flake again when she felt she was at an acceptable weight. (I was a baby trainer at a gym and didn't yet know how to fire a client or this would have ended.)

What the hellllll kind of relationship, I ask you, does that create with strength and movement??

We're coming up on February (click here to register for my partner yoga and massage workshop with the amazing Jess Boggs! #shamelessselfpromotion) and you can already hear the "LOVE THYSELF!" ads thundering toward social media. Even if you're not down with the actual holiday, and whether you like or not, most of us take a second this month to evaluate our relationships. If you had a significant other who was breaking your heart, telling you how much you're not good enough and leaving you in constant pain...would you stay with them?

Why are you letting your relationship with exercise treat you like a crappy partner?

I told someone the other day (then read Neghar Fonooni's post that said the same thing. squee!) that building a good relationship with exercise and food takes practice. Like any relationship, it takes an obnoxious amount of getting it wrong to create a foundation for a long-term, give-and-take co-existence. So whatever. Get it wrong. I still sometimes do swings because I ate too much the day before (#pointless) ...

but find exercise that is GOOD for your heart.

You're worth it.