Renée Zellweger Gets Her Therapy at the Gym

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Actress Renée Zellweger is SELF magazine’s October cover girl. In the article, she talks about facing her fears, running for breast cancer awareness, and how her own brush with breast cancer (which turned out to be nothing more than a scare) only reinforced her healthy eating and exercise habits. Here are the highlights.

Renée tells SELF that she hits the gym six days a week whenever possible to clock 3-5 miles on the treadmill or elliptical trainer. To me, this cardio program sounds varied (high-impact running is balanced out with the elliptical trainer, which is low-impact) and fits within the general recommendations for cardio exercise. (Although I wish I would have heard something more about strength training in there, which is also a must!) With her busy career, Renée is often living in new places for short stints while filming or traveling. So the one thing that keeps her sane is hitting the gym.

What she says about the gym shows a healthy attitude towards exercise:

“The gym is my therapy. I’ve got to get stuff out…The perk of going and spending time by myself and getting my head straight and thinking through what might be bothering me is that I get fit. That’s not the goal, but it’s a nice by-product.”

I think it's great that Renée sees exercise as something more than just a means to looking good. And it sounds as if "getting fit" isn't even her main goal, but that she focuses more on how working out makes her feel. For many people, exercise provides energy, stress relief, and emotional benefits—and these perks can be a great motivation to stick with a routine.

And she doesn't let travel, moving or a busy schedule get in the way of her workouts either, saying, "wherever I move, or wherever I’m stationed, or whatever phase of life I’m in, the gym is my common denominator. I move to L.A.? I find my gym. I get to Santa Fe? I find my gym. In New York? Found my gym.”

Now that sounds like the habit of a fit person to me—sticking with a routine instead of making excuses.

How about you? Is exercise "therapy" to you, like it is to Renée? What are your favorite benefits of working out besides getting fit?

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Exercise serves so many purposes: helping me reclaim my health, destress, enjoy nature all the beauty of the seasons. It's a habit now, I can't go more than a day before I feel the need to do something physical, even if it's just a 1/2 hour walk. It all adds up. Report
When I exercise, it does feel like "therapy". I feel very calm! Report
How about you? Is exercise "therapy" to you, like it is to Renée?

Yes, exercise is "therapy". It always helps me feel better.

What are your favorite benefits of working out besides getting fit?

It increases my seratonin levels and endorphins. I feel better. I miss it if I can't exercise. Without SP I wouldn't be as consistent with my exercise. Tracking my fitness each day and earning points for it helps keep me motivated. Report
Makes me feel good.....Its my 'me' time. I also do NOT get my weekly reward without it. THE SAUNA!! Ah...... :) Report
Renée Zellweger has long been one of my FAVORITE actresses!!!
Here's just another (of many) reasons to love her.
No wonder she is able to keep that beautiful smile on her face just about everytime you see her - - she's healthy on the inside and keeping physically fit on the outside.

Thank you for the great write up on this article.
If it's good enough for Renée Zellweger, then it's good enough for the rest of us!
LOL Report
Ah, exercise time as theraphy. I have to agree. It's become one of the best times of the day when I workout. Release of tension. My happy time. Report
I'm new to working out, thanks to SP, but am already feeling the benefits. My stomach is flatter and my moods are better. I feel like I have more energy. Though I still struggle with strength training, I'm pushing through and see that it's getting somewhat easier each time. Report
I love Elliptical Trainers, I've lost more than 15 pounds using mine (Schiwn Model). I work 10-15 hours a day and finding 30 minutes to 1 hour 3 times a week is very difficult. I've joined it with the Mediterranean diet (My parents are Italians) and bang! Here the results.

Here a nice quote from: /

According to the manufacturers, you will be able to shed off a maximum of 720 calories in an hour when working out using an elliptical trainer. This is just a general estimate, however. The actual number of calories that you will burn during one hours of working out using an elliptical trainer will still depend on any of the following factors:

* Interval training.
* Settings of the elliptical trainer.
* Upper body usage.
* Your muscle-to-fat ratio.
* Your cardiovascular system – whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or if it’s your first time to exercise.
* Your gender and weight.
What?? It's 6 million bucks people! I would totally put on 30 pounds for that kind of money! But the question of "What if you weren't allowed to lose the weight?" isn't being fair or realistic. Celebrities put on/lose weight for movies all the time... and after shooting is done, they can go back to their normal weight if they choose to. So it's really no big deal for them, and it certainly wouldn't be for me.
If they weren't allowed to lose it afterward, then I'm willing to bet many of them wouldn't put it on in the first place... c'mon, it's Hollywood we're talking about. :) Report
I put my favorite music on my MP3 and have it play randomly when I'm on my elliptical. I listen to the radio all day at work but that time on the elliptical is when I can hear my fav's all together, and forget about what the worry of the day is. Love it. Report
I love the feeling of working it all out, either on the elliptical or treadmill. It is very stress relieving to plug in my music or read a book while I exercise. It's my ME time, no work or outside distractions. Report
I am 59 years old and will never look like Renee Zellweger, but I work out at the gym, too. I'm there to work on keeping my cholesterol and blood pressure down where they need to be. After one year of regular gym workouts (both cardio and circuit training) my cholesterol went down 50 points and my blood pressure is staying where it needs to be. Report
i like renee. i hate exercise. i absolutely loathe it.

sign me--
trying to make exercise my friend, not my enemy....
I did not in the past (workout for the way it made me feel) and that is why working out seemed like a chore. Now I almost have to do something or it puts my life out of whack. I know that working out helps me get through the day and still have energy when I get home to do other things. Report
Got to get my endorphins... 2 hours treading water each day... well more like 100 minutes because it is an hour and fifty five minute swim... I am five minutes late and spend at least ten minutes in the sauna or more if I get there early but I average 100 treading and swimming minutes a day Report
Exercise is my sanity.

It wouldn't matter if they discovered running burned no Calories and didn't offer heart benefits-- I'd still be out there every day. How good it is for you-- just a benefit. Report
I walk 2.5 K (about 25 minutes) every morning on my way to work. If I don't get my walk in (running late, feeling sick, extremely bad weather), my day is totally thrown off, the way some people's days can be ruined without their morning java.

My walk gives me time to prepare mentally for my day, time with my iPod and my tunes. :) Report
As a mother with young kids, finding the time to work out (and be able to stay on the treadmill the whole time without having to get off to take care of something for them!!!) is a challenge. But, I found that if I combine the urgency of needing to exercise to lose some weight with the thought of it being some "me time", it does become like therapy. Throw in a little Christian Rock music and I also have some spiritual time mixed in too - the three combined motivators make it easier to pick at least one to get myself on that treadmill! Report
Working out is definitely therapy to me. I can't afford a gym membership right now but, my dog and I still walk 3-6 miles a day. I don't feel good if I don't get that walking in. It really helps my state of mind and it also helps me to keep a healthy body image. I like knowing I am doing something that benefits my body and my mind. Report
Go Renee! She's always been an inspiration to me. Yes, absolutely, I find the gym to be therapy for me. Exercise lifts my spirits and clears my mind. Report
Working out is more than losing weight and getting fit for me. It's a great stress buster, energizer and mood enhancer for me. I get cranky and don't feel good at all on days I don't work out. Report
Exercise is my drug of choice :) Running with my running group and sharing lifes trials is therapy. I do not feel healthy if I skip more than 2 days of working out. I live to workout and workout to live. Report
Working out is definitely a means to end for me. Maybe when I've reached my goal I can relax a bit. I'm a counselor so I get enough therapy. :-) Report
The gym is where I think and solve my problems. If something is on my mind I work through it while I'm working out.

Also I have to admit it's the place where I feel most at peace with myself and where I feel bliss. There is always...always a moment when I workout that I feel nothing but pure unadulterated bliss. Report
Oh yea Therapy for sure. I usually walk sometimes i add some jogging but when I am totally stressed out I either ride my bike hard or run. I'm waiting for my exercise bike to come so I can do that in the winter, as I am a whimp and hate to get soaked or frozen. Being active and exercising makes me feel better both mentaly and physically. Report
I have also found that regular exercise helps me combat stress and anxiety. Often I can calm myself with a walk or half an hour on the gazelle. Report
I am getting back into the swing of things now but i remember I would go to the gym so that i would "actually work out!" At home it is more difficult cause sometimes i just put it off...I need to stop that...Working out at the gym made me have a sense of accomplishment. And i shed weight too! Report
I deal with anxiety/panic disorder and my fitness routine keeps that in check and has aloud me to maintain a happy lifestyle with no medication! Report
I used to be able to say that and actually mean it. . . when I was 20 lbs lighter. Sadly these days my main goal is to lose the weight but stress relief comes in a close second. I can't wait to get back to the point where I'm going more for sanity than weight loss. Report
I have to say that working out is DEFINITELY a major stress reliever for me. In fact, if I am extremely stressed, I have to really watch myself to prevent overtraining. And with being in finance, I am having to be very careful right now. Report
Getting fit is my main reason for exercising, but lately I have found it is good therapy for me, also. Report
I love Renee and am glad to see someone admitting to exercise. It would be nice if I could have other goals besides trying to get fit...maybe once I get to the stage of maintenance I will have what she has. I do like the benefits of exercise though, for instance she mentions working problems through by herself...her time. I definitely think that is a plus to exercise, but I would be lying if I said that was even remotely a reason for why I do my workouts everyday.

P.S. Now I want to go watch Bridget Jones. =) Report
It helps to clear my mind and lower my stress level. Can't make it through the day without it. Report
It takes my mind off of my problems and helps me re-focus. Like yesterday I was having a miserable day and just thinking about problems at work, all day. After working out at the gym I realized that while I was there, not once did I think about my problems. So I guess you can say it helps me clear my mind. =) Report
I love Renee!! She has such a positive outlook on life!! I know that excercise is also my therapy, it helps me decompress when I'm stressed, sleep better, tackle the big issues in life in a healthier manner. It's also about discipline. What I love about the above article is that she has no excuses!! You go girl!!!
I absolutely feel incomplete if I don't exercise every day. I take one day off a week but more because I feel like I should take it easy than because I really want to. I feel so much more in control of my life and able to tackle hard things now that I exercise regularly. Report
Helps me sleep 8 hours. Report
I like fitness with a purpose. I'd rather ride my bike to the grocery store or walk to the library than treadmill or elliptical at the gym. I get one of my many errands done AND get my exercise in, and the feeling of accomplishment is big. Plus, I save gas and time, because it would take longer if I ran all my errands using the car and then went to the gym.

I have ALWAYS hated "exercise" so it is NOT therapy for me. I do love to dance, so ZUMBA (latin aerobics) is fun, and I love to go to the POOL, so swimming with a kick board is FUN, and YOGA is relaxing. Report
Exercise is a definite mood booster for me. I won't lie when I say that I want to "look good" because that's a booster for me as well, but the overall feeling of stress release I feel can't be topped! Report
I love exercise, especially if I have a headache as I find it helps me to alleviate it without having to resort to pain killers. If I am having a stressful day a couple of runs through my karate kata really helps to calm me down. I find I feel really stressed if I can't get to the gym or my karate training session at least twice or three times a week. Report
best way to calm when i'm stressed! Report
The endorphin (sp?) boost that can help keep my mood positive all day, especially when it gets bumpy. I work at a high school so that extra edge is critical. Report
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