Why do we care about looking good?

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Help an INTJ sister out, would ya? I’ve recently read this article on an online Australian newspaper and the first paragraph/sentence (that’s a whole other grammatical rant I won’t get into today!) gave me the shits. I’m sorry, how is health the second rung benefit of exercising?

I’ve genuinely never cared what I or anyone else looks like. Its always been so irrelevant to me the implications of common statements often only later occur to me. Its also the reason I’ve struggled taking compliments on the way I look – Oh, you like my hair/dress/whatever, uhhh ok. I don’t get embarrassed at having the words said, I just often don’t understand why its relevant. Why I should care that someone else thinks I look good, why that would even be something to consider. Even in acknowledging someone’s statement in terms of appreciation of the time and effort I might’ve put into appearance for a certain occasion (like a wedding or important party – not many other occasions meet my effort v reward calculation!) its the effort I feel appreciated for, not the outcome of the effort.

Back to that article I linked, for someone like me who maintains an exercise regime/philosophy/schedule to help manage a, frankly, pain in the arse (sometimes literally!) medical condition, how dare they suggest I do this primarily to get the ‘benefit’ of something so irrelevant as looking good? My reduced, almost non-present spontaneous bruising and injuries kicks your toned abs or ‘summer’ arms out of the park in terms of benefits. Seriously – I manage or negate the symptoms of an inherited (and therefore incurable) medical condition, and in terms of importance that only gets an ‘also’ from a national newspaper (granted one that was quoting a US source, but still!)? Given the way this article is worded, I’m presuming this is a secondary consideration for many people? Seriously? I just don’t get it. The looking good or pretty is a secondary, or maybe much further down the list of considerations for me. Just for emphasis – I NEGATE THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INCURABLE MEDICAL CONDITION.

So why do I exercise?
– Because its fun! I wrote about that here, but exercise needs to be fun. The other bonus is that if you find it fun, you’ll be de-stressing at the same time, and want to do it more (and stress, of course, can lead to inflammation and short and long term consequences for your health). A fun activity that de-stresses and I get to do it regularly? Hells yes.

- Because it improves my health. Bone, joint and muscle strength is so important for people with bleeding disorders, and I’m living proof it can help. Not to mention the multitude of other conditions regular exercise helps prevent or manage – cancers, diabetes, heart conditions, auto-immune conditions. You name it, there’s a form of moving that helps.

- Because I like a good challenge (hello, Barrecode, hiking in Tasmania, and my new fave, rock climbing!)

Sure, the occasional spot of admiration for my Barre Guns (as Christie likes to call them!) happens, but its not a main motivation. Being healthy and strong is so much more important to me, and I hope it is for you too.

About Jenna @ MyMissingFactor

I'm Jenna Lovell. I'm here to inspire you to be healthy by sharing my story of living with chronic illness - lets take the taboo out of illness
This entry was posted in Active Living, von Willebrands, Wellness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why do we care about looking good?

  1. Awesome point of view – but you are really unique in it I think my dear – I reckon the majority of people exercise because they want to look good…been there, it’s so not healthy for your mind (even if it might be good for the body!). I’m glad that as I get older, my relationship to exercise is shifting to be more about pleasure, not punishment.

    • You’re right, I keep finding out how unique it is. But it’s one of those things so so ingrained in the way I think every time I come across the opposite it still shocks me! It’s why articles like this (and the whole conversation around food and movement) shock me, and inspire a bit of ranting! Even long before I had medical problems or a diagnosis it still didn’t make any sense – who a person is rather than how they look has always been so much more important to me. Most of the boys my peers thought were cute in high school I though were ugly, but we were using two different yardsticks! :)

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