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Wellness is the new Fitness

An online search for the word ‘fitness’ pulls up page upon page of commercial fitness brands all vying for your attention and ultimately, your dollars. And it’s big business. The fitness industry in Australia has seen an unprecedented boom in the past decade with five times more gyms, studios, bootcamps, boxes or boutiques now competing for a similar consumer share.

 

Click across to ‘images’ in the same web search as you’re hit with an (arguably) impressive array of darkened photos. There are bulging biceps, rippled abs and super squats but interestingly, not many smiles. According to Google, this business of ‘Fitness’ has become very serious in 2016.

On the flip side, my trusty laptop provides a sense of calm when I enter ‘Wellness’’ into the search box. I’m told that “Wellness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being”. My heart rate slows just by reading this, and my comfort increases as I click over to images to see lots of colour, lightness and outdoor scenes that I could very easily slip into for the rest of the day.

So what is the difference? The emergence of reality TV and social media has force fed the notion of ultimate Fitness being the ‘’thing’’ that’s required to life a full and happy life. And that’s great if you’re the type of person who eats a 10km run for breakfast. But what about the rest of us who, let’s be serious, if we had a spare few hours each day, would probably not spend it deciding which workout pose would look best on Instagram.

The notion of Wellness incorporates more than a physical aspect to our wellbeing by taking in the mental and spiritual components of health. Taking time out (or as I recently heard, taking time ‘in’) to remove all of the daily stresses, deadlines, worries and expectations can be far better for us than a bigger VO2 Max or new deadlift PB. The right mix, let’s call it a ‘recipe’ will vary according to your own tastes, but the general idea of everything in moderation can ring true here.

Set some small obtainable goals around doing more of what makes you happy. Incorporate some rest and relaxation along with your exercise; stop and smell the roses (so to speak) on your next run or walk, swap a hard gym session for a stretch or yoga class, focus on body awareness, movement and breathing over the weight you might be lifting or download a simple meditation app to help you slow down when you need it. And let’s remove the idea of fitness over wellness, your health will thank you for it.

At YMCA, we encourage you to take time out to exercise regularly, but not too seriously. Walk into one of our centres and you’ll find less judgement, and more smiles. Come see why we’re different.