I read this article about gospel aerobics in the Oakland Tribune after Christmas and thought it was great. During a gospel aerobics class, the instructor plays gospel music (which I love), and makes connections for the women between their spiritual and physical health. As one student says,
"It's a whole approach that the body is your temple as opposed to 'Thin is in,'" John says. "It's not about being thin so you can fit into the latest fashions."
This is similar to the body-accepting philosophy I observed at a local belly dancing class last week at the Suhaila Salimpour School of Dance. The women taking the class were all shapes and sizes with varying abilities, but it was clear that the environment in the class made all of them feel positively about their bodies.
I really think exercise classes that reinforce positive body image should be a requirement for girls in school. Think about all the good that could be done if women took all the energy they spend worrying about how their bodies look and put it into making the world a better place.
* If you want to hear more about the belly dancing class check out Margaret Cho's blog. She was in the class (it was being filmed for a reality show pilot) so I bet she'll write about it, and of course, it'll be hilarious.