Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2018
Written by 

Exercise is not punishment

Everywhere I turn there is misinformation about health, fitness and nutrition. The only thing more frustrating is the photoshopped images and advertisements of how I’m supposed to look and the very clear message of how I should feel about myself if I don’t. It’s extremely hard to know what is true versus what is paid-for advice that has a motive attached. The constant expectation of beauty tied to skinny has given credibility to all the diets. Am I supposed to eat, avoid or cycle carbs this week? But no message is more frustrating to me than the “if you ate X, you need to go to the gym and do Y.” 

Let’s be frank. If you eat poorly, no amount of exercise is going to make up for it. The number of calories in one delicious fried cheese curd would require you spend hours on a treadmill to “burn it off.” Your weight is like 90 percent what you put in your mouth. This has been scientifically proven many times over but advertisers don’t like this message because it’s harder to sell lettuce than it is a new fancy piece of gym equipment you can use in your home that will totally make you look like a supermodel for just 20 minutes three times a week.

What is exercise? Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do! Exercise is your body moving to be healthy. I read something once that really stuck with me: “Your body is a vehicle, not an ornament!” Think about that for a second. Your body is a vehicle. It is meant to get you from A to B. It is your vehicle to play with your kids and get to your office and do all the things you do in a day. Therefore, exercise is taking your vehicle out on the autobahn and seeing what it can do. Exercise is moving the wheels to make sure they stay lubricated or the tires don’t get a flat spot from the pavement.

The problem with linking exercise to nutrition is that if someone isn’t willing to eat healthy they often will feel like exercise is also out of their reach. It isn’t. You can eat the pizza and exercise. I, for one, love pizza. I also love seeing what my body is capable of. I’m lucky because the sport I chose, the aerial arts, defy gravity and give me constant opportunities to do things I didn’t think I’d be able to do. And there are days I’m sore from training the day before or from lifting something heavy while moving or from sitting in the car for way too long on a road trip; do you know what always makes those days better? Moving! Our bodies were made to move! We just happen to have built a huge fitness industry around this concept that is spewing misinformation to drive sales. But if you take away the money incentive, moving is fundamental to the human experience. What use is a vehicle if it is always just sitting in one spot? 

Get moving however it appeals to you. There is no wrong answer to moving, go for a walk, join a sports league, sign up for a pole exercise class. The type doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that you move, call it exercise if you want but move! And remember that moving your vehicle is kinda the point of having one. 

Paula Brusky, PhD

Dr. Paula Brusky is the owner of Aerial Dance Pole Exercise, LLC in Appleton. With a PhD in injury prevention, a group fitness certification from the American Center on Exercise and numerous fitness, aerial and pole instruction certifications she is a leading aerial arts educator. For more information or to sign-up for your first Pole, Hammock, Hoop or Silks class, call 920-750-1441 or visit

Subscribe Today
Community Partners Directory
Find a Complimentary Copy
Community Calendar