This trending audio clip reminds women that there are so many reasons to exercise that aren’t about what we look like.
Social media isn’t the best place to find reliable health and fitness advice. In fact, many trends on Instagram or TikTok border on dangerous, both physically (like the 30-day gallon challenge) and mentally (such as the never-ending What I Eat In A Day videos).
But now there’s a trend we can get on board with. In a viral audio clip, trainer Ashley Doell says: “We were raised in a generation where exercise was used only to lose weight and be skinny. Let’s flip the script.” The audio has been shared by nearly 7,000 women, along with videos of them climbing mountains, doing pull-ups, lifting heavy weights or running through their cities.
This empowering take on exercise is something Strong Women and Stylist has been championing for years, which is why we’re celebrating Doell’s message.
In her original video, her words featured over footage of her stretching, crunching and sweating in her living room. Her caption reads: “When I was younger I literally had no idea why people kept exercising when they were already thin or lean. I realise now how wrong that is and why so many people have such negative thoughts towards a balanced diet and exercise, [and] maybe you were the same?
“My goal is to flip the script and normalise exercise as a necessity for quality of life. I’ve seen too many loved ones miss out on years of life due to a lack of mobility, strength and general overall health. I refuse to be part of that data… I’m starting now and staying consistent and taking control of what I can – which is daily movement.”
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Doell makes an incredibly important point about the fact that exercise has always been seen first and foremost as a means of controlling the size of our body. Talking to Stylist, she says: “I created this post to get people curious about how they view exercise.
“The more time I spent reflecting on how I viewed exercise in my childhood, teens and early adulthood, and then how I think exercise should be viewed, the more I realised that there was a huge gap between the two.
“I don’t want my children to be raised with the same view on exercise, which is why I’m in the business I’m in and use the platform the way I do. My goal is to shift how we view exercise so the younger generations can live more balanced lifestyles right from the start, and use exercise and nutrition for what it should be used for: to increase our longevity and quality of life.”
And it’s true that for generations, the benefits of exercise for health and longevity have often come second to conversations around movingfor weight loss, burning calories or fitting a set body ideal. But now we can “flip the script”, as Doell says, meaning we can change the narrative from what exercise can help us lose, to what we can gain from it – like strength, happiness, freedom, achievement, friendship and health.
“Flipping the script means moving from measuring results with a scale to measuring results in our mental health. From counting pounds lost to strength and energy gained, from restricting food to eating whole foods in abundance, from hurting our bodies with cardio to valuing strength training, mobility and flexibility,” Doell says.
It’s a message that’s resonated with the thousands of women who have shared the clip and their followers too.
The message is clear and powerful: exercise offers so many benefits beyond changing what we look like. It can be gentle or challenging; it can be at home, at the gym, in the park, on a machine, with dumbbells; it can be running, stretching, powerlifting walking; it can be fast or slow – as long as it makes you feel good.
I found it quite moving to scroll through the audio page on Instagram where all videos that have used the sound clip are compiled. “I’m so glad the clip went viral,” says Doell. “It means that we’ve come to a crossroads in the fitness industry where people are done with being bamboozled into buying things with the sole goal of losing weight. I’m proud to be part of a trend towards overall wellness and wellbeing.”
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts about your body or a bit lost in your workout routine, head to that page for a reminder of how incredible your body is. It’s time we all saw movement as a way to look after those powerhouses rather than work out to punish them.
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