Inside ‘Rational Fitness,’ the Common Sense Approach to Exercise

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(ABC News) — We’ve all done hard workouts just to burn off that pizza, donut or lasagna we’ve eaten, but a viral post is urging people to stop using exercise as punishment and start using so-called “rational fitness.”

The idea of rational fitness emphasizes exercising to feel good over focusing on calories and rigid rules.

Refinery29 writer Kesley Miller wrote the post in which she detailed how she juggled rushing to yoga classes and counting points while figuring out what treats she could eat. She referred to that behavior “irrational fitness.”

“People often ask me what rational fitness is, as if I’ve mentioned a hot new trend they need to Google. In truth, it’s exactly what it sounds like: exercising, but not like a maniac,” she wrote.

Anna Maltby, director of health and wellness at Refinery29, explained further, telling ABC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo, “It’s basically the common sense way to exercise. So you’re taking guilt and shame out of the equation …we’re not punishing ourselves, we’re not counting calories,” she said.

The goal is to encourage people to do activities that they enjoy, she said. If you hate running, don’t run. Do something else – Pilates, weightlifting or another activity that feels good.

“It’s about focusing on the wonderful things that exercise does for you so it makes you healthier, it helps you sleep, it gives you less pain, and puts you in a better mood … and makes you live longer,” Maltby said.

The rules are simple: First off, there are no rules. Any way you move your body counts – whether it’s throwing a Frisbee, throwing a ball around or anything else that makes you feel good.

And one more thing: Put a towel over the calorie counter on gym machines and do what feels right.

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