The struggle is real indeed.
In a moving post on Twitter, comedian and actress Leslie Jones was upfront about the difficulties in managing expectations when it comes to working out and feeling strong — whether those expectations are about your body, romantic life, or something else.
But in the caption for one of her recent selfies, Jones included a sobering — and for many of us, all too familiar — message: “Ok back to cardio,” she wrote. “But confession I feel like I’m doing it for nothing.”
“I know… I’m healthy and look good but I really feel like ‘what’s it all for’ if the people you want to notice don’t,” she wrote. “I just feel like I might die alone. Sorry that’s pretty heavy today!!”
As ever, Twitter was quick to chime in. And while the social media platform is probably best known for wit (both real and attempted) as well as biting critiques, the responses Jones received were instead filled with an overwhelming amount of love and support.
Do it for you, not them
The vast majority of people who saw the star’s tweet were straight up about the purpose of why we do things that benefit our health: First and foremost, we do them for ourselves.
“Girl the most important thing is for you to do it because it makes YOU feel good!!” wrote Alex Claiborne. “If people don’t notice and respect that, they are not worthy of your attention. Keep going.”
“If you ain’t [doing] it for yourself you are doing it for the wrong reasons,” replied user @ThoughtsFromLess. “Girl, love yourself and then others will love you and don’t try to force eyes to turn, it hurts if they don't. All the love to you, you beautiful lady!! Love will happen when you least expect it.”
“You’re allowed to feel emotional. But remember, the most important thing is NOT doing this for anyone else but yourself,” added user @JoAnneHnyc. “Because when you are happy, you will become like a magnet, attracting what you need. By the way, you amaze me each and every time I see you do anything.”
It’s about heart… and health
Some users were quick to boast the key benefits of exercise: Keeping your body and mind healthy, so you’re strong enough to face life’s many challenges.
Aerobic exercise, like cardio, boosts your overall fitness by conditioning your heart and lungs. But it does more than that. Regular cardio cuts your risk for a number of serious conditions — like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes — and strengthens your heart.
One user, Linda Rose, got personal with Jones about how staying fit helped her through serious medical complications: “In my middle to late 40’s I became catastrophically ill,” she wrote.
“Part of the reason I came through it as well as I have is that I was in such good shape. Never discount what you’re doing, dear. It could just save your life down the road.”
Remember, you’re never alone
Many other users reminded Jones that she’s far from alone — several admitted to having been in that same place. They reminded her that, for whatever reasons, sometimes things happen later in life for some people.
“I have asked myself those same questions, L,” wrote Brian Crew. “I just keep believing some things happen later for some of us. Hang in there!”
“I was 43 when I met the man who eventually became my husband,” said Janet Mueller. “Stay strong as you never know when or where a partner will come into your life.”
Jones expressed feelings that so many people are familiar with and, clearly, it struck a chord. Her post reminded the world that second-guessing yourself isn’t a rare phenomenon. We all do it.
“Thank you for sharing this and being real,” wrote Billy Lorusso. “You’re letting tons of people see that we ALL have the same recurring thoughts and issues.”
“Leslie, being healthy (mentally and physically) is the best way to attract the person who has the same energy as you,” added Shea Peters. “You bring joy to this world, so keep doing the things that make you happy! We are all allowed a day to be sober or feel down, tomorrow is a new day.”
And when it comes to love, many echoed a sentiment that anyone familiar with RuPaul’s Drag Race will know by heart: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
Or as one user, Maggie Parkhill, put it: “The thing about cardio is that it works out the most important muscle you have — your heart!”
Kareem Yasin is a writer and editor at Healthline. Outside of health and wellness, he’s active in conversations about inclusivity in mainstream media, his homeland of Cyprus, and the Spice Girls. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram.