The purpose of exercising

Kent Sport fitness instructor Sarah Black grew up with constant participation in everything to do with the sporting world. She studied fitness and qualified as a personal trainer when she was 19. Since then she has been developing in all areas of the sector. She studied her main passion, yoga, in Kathmandu Nepal, under the direct guidance of Sannyasi Vishnuswaroop; and teaches Satyananda Yoga and other classes at Kent Sport and provides training in the Sports Centre fitness suite as a Health Instructor. She has gained the PTLLS Tutor Training and will next progress onto Assessor Training. Sarah explains below about the purpose of exercise:

The University of Kent has seen an inspiring display of effort and involvement in sport and activities from all of its Kent Sport members this term. With Christmas vacation just around the corner, I would like to raise this question.

Why do you exercise?

We offer an Initial Fitness Consultation to our members, which is an opportunity to gather information so we can guide the client and ensure they reap the maximum benefits from exercise.

We ask people what they want to achieve from exercise. I have been in the industry for a long time now and daily I hear the same answer – “I want to lose weight, become leaner, gain muscle and be healthy.” However, I am yet to find a sensible answer as to why. What does fitness mean to you?

The word health comes from the German word of wholeness and that is precisely what it means. It is a whole approach to changing your life for the freedom and function of vitality. It is to nourish your body, mind and soul through activity and taking part in challenges, making sure you are constantly developing and improving. Exercise is not a two week frenzy, it should not be the answer to lose weight, tone up, build muscle, slim down. It is your whole commitment to an all rounded better life.

We seem to use exercise as a tool to fix our mishaps. Punish ourselves when we succumb to the indulgence of unhealthy foods and to push our bodies to the limits, testing our egos and stamina. These are not examples of good health. Training in the free weight area for collective hours with no purpose beyond building big muscles, or racing on the rower to see if you can beat the opponent next to you, is not fitness. Fitness needs a purpose and exercise is not a task or a session. It is necessary to keep living. It is vital if we want to continue to function normally without risk of injury or disease.

It does not have to be excessive, it does not have to even be in the gym. Exercise takes place when we walk to our lectures, play a fun game of badminton, or even lifting our shopping baskets. Our focus is to incorporate more activities into our day that familiarise ourselves with the bodies capabilities.

Many clients I work with have yet to discover what their quadriceps are or even their biceps. Yet I am sure they can name all the internet search browsers and latest iPhones on the market. I find it startling to see so many people that have no clue what they are capable of doing with their own bodies, considering they breathe and move about every day in them. Exercise can be an education in self-satisfaction and trust. Learn to trust yourself. You do not need to over indulge and then punish yourself in the gym.

I bring this topic up now, as I sense a lot of you will be entering the gym in the next three weeks with the lead up to Christmas. The mental breakdown is already occurring before the holidays have already begun  – “Train as much as you can now, so you can eat, indulge and let it all go for Christmas. Then after the holidays you can start from scratch and burn it all off when you return.”  Don’t let this circular thinking become normal. Exercise is not an escape or the answer to life’s bad habits. We do it every living moment and the purpose is to maximise your potential and performance to live happily, wholly and to harmonise yourself mind, body and soul.

When we commit to fitness we commit to life and that is why you exercise. The Kent Sport Initial Fitness Consultation restores the purpose of exercising and enables us to assist and guide you through the important challenge of staying active effectively.

For further information about Kent Sport visit or call 01227 823623.

Leave a Reply