Jessie J on How Exercise Helps to Manage Her Heart Condition: 'It Pushed Me to Get Stronger'
This article originally appeared on People.com.
For Jessie J, working out is a way to get fit and feel strong — something that’s particularly important to her as she manages a heart condition.
The singer, 29, inherited Wolff-Parkinson-White disease — a condition that means she has an extra electrical pathway in her heart that causes shortness of breath and dizziness — from her father, and his father before him.
“It doesn’t go away, sadly. It’s just something that I’ve had to deal with since I was a child, and it pushed me to get stronger. It’s just part of who I am,” Jessie J, a spokesperson for Propel Electrolyte Water, tells PEOPLE.
But after undergoing surgeries as a child, she doesn’t worry too much about burning out during concerts or her workouts — she’s learned how to monitor her body.
“I do have to make sure I stay healthy and look after myself,” Jessie J says. “I kind of love that I have something that pushes me to be healthier.”
And she attributes her positive outlook about her condition to her parents.
“I credit that to my mum and dad. Because even when I was in hospital as a kid and I was having operations, and I was let out of hospital to go to school rehearsals for plays and I would go back in at night, but they never let it define me, or make me feel different,” she says. “They always told me to use it as a strength and I know that I inspire anyone who has an illness or feels trapped.”
Now, as part of her partnership with Propel, the “Domino” singer is encouraging people to workout “ugly,” and not to care about how they look in the gym.
“I just wanted to recreate the way people see the word ugly,” she says. “For me it’s like, don’t care, stop judging yourself, get on with it, get sweaty, get fit. Who cares what you look like? Don’t wear makeup; your hair’s going to be a mess. Just do it.”
While Jessie J enjoys using social media, she thinks it leads to unrealistic expectations.
“People say that you’re too skinny, or you’re too fat. You’re never enough,” she says. “I think it’s so fickle and silly. I’m comfortable in my own skin, so I try to inspire people who aren’t there yet to get there.”
And overall, she focuses on trying to “be good to myself” — while keeping her heart condition in mind.
“I go out with nice boys who don’t break my heart,” she says. “Cause it’s sore already.”