[Week 6 of 12 Weeks to a Healthy New Year]
Why are people afraid to be active where other people can see them?
Are you afraid to let people see you move? I have observed that a lot of people are. For example, when I go dancing, the comments and looks on people’s faces tell me that they are think it would be too embarrassing to move around in front of other people.
It seems there are multiple reasons for this.
- They think they will breathe hard and look out of shape
- They think they will make funny motions with their body
- They are concerned it will mess up their fashion statement
- They want to stand out from the crowd
I wouldn’t bring it up, except that the same people seem discontent with their perceived options. So maybe if we put these options in perspective and tweak a few things, more of you will feel comfortable with getting up and moving in social settings.
The stamina concern
There is nothing degrading about breathing hard. All the best athletes do it. Breathing hard means you are stimulating your lungs and heart. True, some people will find the limits of their stamina sooner than others, but that is not a good reason to simply sit there the whole time wishing you could dance.
Moving your body creates heat, which the body needs to dissipate. If your body is healthy, it will do that by some amount of perspiration. This is not an indication of low social standing. There seems to be some lingering stigma with sweat, possibly a carryover from when it was thought that only people of lower social standing should do any sort of manual labor. It should not be humiliating to sweat in front of people.
Concerns about looking graceful or suave
The faster we move, the more we challenge our muscles to move in a fluid and controlled way. There is one good way to help with this; that is to exercise and strengthen your body regularly. Then you will have the muscle strength and memory patterns to make a greater variety of movements.
But there is also an element of getting comfortable being in front of others. The more you do it, the easier it is. The more you do it, the more you get experience with the thing you are doing and the more natural the activity becomes while in front of them.
Some people may make fun of you, but ask yourself why they feel compelled to do this. They could look the other way if they find it an unpleasant sight. They can go somewhere else if they don’t like the sound of your voice. So why do they choose to make fun? Because they have a perverted idea that by belittling someone else they will gain standing in the eyes of their friends. They might get a few laughs, but they have actually done nothing of substance.
In reality, most people will enjoy or be inspired by your participation in an active social event. Someone always has to be the first one. The whole group has more fun if just one person will put their ego aside and just have fun.
Have you ever looked at a photo and thought, “I wish I looked like that.” Sigh. But then you remember that to look “like that” you would have to hold still in a certain pose, with no breeze, in the best lighting. Forever.
Fashion is too often thought of as a 2-dimensional, static figure. And one that doesn’t perspire or move its face. People tend to dress for a look that has to be maintained, and is easiest to maintain by holding still. This is poor planning.
The best way to be fashionable, is to have an air of nonchalance. Good posture helps a lot, too. And smile. Other than that, fashion is something that everyone is always looking for.
If you want to look your best and have the option of moving, you need to wear things that
- move with you
- are not confining or tight
- can accommodate perspiration
- are comfortable
- allow for cooling
- allow you to use your feet without pain
- let you keep your balance
Such attire does not have to look like you just came from the gym, although nowadays there are some very fun leggings to choose from. If you want to have the option of dancing, you might also consider a pair of compression shorts under a skirt. If you are going shopping at the mall, make sure your pants will let you do all the squats you need to to look at the lower shelves. If you are playing chase with the grandkids (we have a circuit in our house that is perfect for that), make sure your feet are allowed to provide good balance and traction with the floor!
Concerns that someone will look at you
There seems to be some conflict about this. It is like people want others to notice how great they look, but not stand out at the same time. They want to be unique, but blend into the crowd.
I understand that if we felt assured of positive responses, we might be less nervous about this. We are nervous for two reasons.
- We have been critical of how others dress
- We think people are looking at us more than they are
Even when people are critical of each other in these types of social settings, it is a superficial attempt to feel superior about their own choices. It is backwards. Ironically, such criticism is often aimed at those people whom they want to “bring down a notch” because they feel intimidated due to their own insecurities.
No one really cares how you look nearly as much as you do. Those who love you, love you regardless. Those who might be embarrassed to be seen with you are embarrassed for themselves. Those who gossip, gossip about everyone so it means very little. So don’t let people’s supposed negative looks or off-hand remarks influence you. Just get busy and show them how to have fun. Maybe they will forget their negativities for a while and join in!
Ways to have active social fun
- Dancing is an obvious choice. Find a pub that features good live music or hire your own band.
- Singing gets the blood circulating and invites drama. Go out for karaoke or go caroling.
- Playing some instruments can take a fair amount of energy and be very social. Invites some friends over to a jam session.
- Shopping can cover some ground, especially if you dress right. Put some miles in while visiting, finding gifts, and admiring beautiful displays.
- Festive exhibits are often places to walk and see people. I know I am looking forward to the Idaho Botanical Gardens Christmas aGlow. Maybe you have something like that near you?
- Some games can be active. Old-fashioned charades is one that can be most fun when people move more.
- Get together with friends to prepare for a party or decorate. Turn on some music and most people will move faster!
- Go for a run or a brisk walk with a friend. Chatting will help you relax into it. Being able to chat is a good sign that the pace is a healthy one for you.
- Hunting is one of my husband’s favorite social activities.
Concerns about exhaustion
There are times for quiet visiting or scrumptious food. You don’t need to always be moving and you need to figure out when to rest. However, social events don’t need to always be sedentary, especially when you want or need them to provide active opportunities.
You may need to adjust your regular exercise routine to accommodate active social events, but, really, isn’t that one reason for exercising? So that we can have fun in different ways when we want to? What active social events are you going to try this season?