America Ferrera On Transforming Her Relationship with Working Out

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America-Ferrera

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America Ferrera is opening up about how her relationship with working out has evolved over the years. Rather than exercising to change her appearance, she's all about moving to feel good, she said in a new interview with Today Parents.

"My relationship with working out used to be about fixing flaws," Ferrera told the outlet. "For years, I was in a cycle of beating myself up," she continued. Now, she feels differently about exercise.

"It took me a lot of work to transform that relationship into one that is based in deep gratitude for the ability to move my body in ways that make me feel strong, joyful, and alive," said the 38-year-old.

Related: The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise, According to Experts

Her new mindset is one she is looking forward to sharing with her children too. "Moving our bodies because it brings us joy is something we want to model for our kids," said Ferrera, who is mom to a four-year-old son named Sebastian and a two-year-old daughter named Lucia.

Like Ferrera, many people struggle to achieve a healthy relationship with exercise. Working out is about so much more than "burning off" calories and trying to make your body smaller, yet these are common mentalities ingrained in modern culture that can lead to an unhealthy relationship with exercise.

In reality, a healthy relationship with working out should resemble any other healthy relationship, Barb Puzanovova, C.P.T., a non-diet, HAES-aligned, ACE-certified personal trainer in Nashville, previously told Shape. "Just like you listen to a partner, you listen to your body and respond to it," she said. "It's sustainable, adaptable, and based on trust and respect." TL;DR, it's okay to take days off and move intuitively rather than stick to strict regimens that don't make you feel good physically or mentally.

Related: Mandy Moore Gives Herself a 'Pass' When She Doesn't Have Time to Work Out, and So Should You

If you think you might have an unhealthy relationship with exercise, there are steps you can take to improve it, according to Puzanovova. You might rethink your goals, focusing on short-term reasons to work out, such as boosting your mood or sleeping better. Or, consider slowing things down by taking intentional rest days or even scaling back during a workout. It might also be helpful to reframe exercise, a word that has negative connotations for some people, as movement, suggested Puzanovova.

You can also take a page from Ferrera's book and focus on the joy of working out, something Puzanovova also previously advised to Shape. For example, if you're planning to take a walk, you might listen to your favorite podcast or bring a friend along. "It gets rid of the pressure," said Puzanovova.

Related: Bethenny Frankel Isn't Interested In Working Out or Dieting

Right now, Ferrera is all about Zumba dance classes (she recently partnered with the fitness company), she told Today Parents. The dance-inspired workout is certainly a great way to incorporate a little bit of fun into exercising. "I'll wake up the next day and I'm like, 'I didn't realize I was working that part of my arm, or that side of my abs,'" she said. "You're getting a full-body workout."

Looking for a little bit of joy right now? Take a look at Ferrera dancing it out at home in a new video she shared on Instagram. It might just make you want to get up and dance!