Lena Dunham is a former couch potato who now loves running because exercise makes her feel great physically and emotionally. Dunham said running has dramatically boosted her self-esteem and helps control her anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“Endorphins are real,” Lena told ESPN. “You run with someone for an hour, you feel pretty good. Running for an hour does not make you feel worse.”
Dunham, who insists she usually does not run for an hour, has learned to embrace exercise not for weight loss, but for its many other health benefits. “I’m going to be 30 next year,” said Lena. “As you age, you have to move.” Dunham continued:
You have to move so you don’t die. You have to move so your brain doesn’t atrophy. You have to move so that you look a little bit like a person that you might want to be.
There are a thousand reasons why exercise is important, and I’ve had to find ways to make it sexy for myself.”
The “Girls” star also does yoga and works out with celebrity fitness guru Tracy Anderson, who trains Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. Dunham’s workouts with Anderson combine cardio with light weightlifting and Pilates-style moves, Celebrity Health & Fitness reported.
Lena, who’s 5-foot-3 and weighs 150 pounds, has learned to embrace her curves after years of struggling with weight and being fat-shamed. “I stopped weighing myself three years ago because it doesn’t matter!” said Lena.
“I went through a phase where it was like, one pound up and my day was horrible; two pounds down and I was queen of the world. It was just a ridiculous code. There is no reason why you ever need to be getting a scale or measuring your value by a scale.”
While Dunham is no longer obsessed with weight loss, she has definitely slimmed down in recent years and feels better than ever.
‘Exercise Helped My Anxiety and OCD’
Dunham, who was a vegan for 10 years, now follows a sensible portion-controlled diet. In July 2015, Lena posted a paparazzi photo of herself on Instagram.
In the snapshot, Lena is seen running in an exercise bra and athletic pants. While Dunham usually hates paparazzi photos, she said this particular one filled her with pride because it showed her looking like an athlete.
“I feel so much stronger and more capable than before,” said Dunham. “I just feel good knowing that if I were to choose to try and run, it would be possible.”
In addition to boosting her confidence and body image, Lena said exercise helps her manage her anxiety and OCD, after 16 years of medication.
“[Exercise] has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible,” Dunham revealed on Instagram. “To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it’s mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I’m glad I did. It ain’t about the *ss, it’s about the brain.”