Exercise. That thing we’ve all been told we should do. The thing we say we’ll start doing after the new year. The thing we say we’ll do more of so we can “look good for ________.” The thing we say we’ll start being better about doing next week.
Many people have a very complicated, on again/ off again relationship with exercise. We know its “good for us,” that its important to our health, but thats not where the issue lies. The struggle for so many is that they truly don’t know what they can do to try and meet the minimum recommendations. Exercise can seem intimidating to so many, especially when they associate it with the societal norms: the gym, running/marathoning, intense fitness classes, etc. People are often off put by these “norms” because in their minds, its not an enjoyable activity. They dread the idea of these things. — Why push yourself through 30-60 minutes of something if your not enjoying it? — But alas, in the name of health or losing weight, people often push there bodies through workouts they don’t enjoy for some time and then inevitably stop working out altogether because its not a sustainable way for them to live.
The thing is, you don’t need to engage in those standard activities in order to benefit your health. You just need to simply move. Movement in any capacity is beneficial to your health, and you’re 100 percent more likely to continue doing something and make it apart of your routine if its something you truly enjoy. When you find satisfaction out of an activity, you’ll want to do it, you’ll see the benefit of it, you’ll make time for it. Its so easy to feel pressured into performing exercise that falls into the categorical norms but the truth is, No two humans are completely identical, so you can’t assume that two people will have the same success from the exact same exercise routine. They key to building a lasting exercise routine is finding the movement that moves you. Find an activity that you love or that you and your best friend or significant other can do together and enjoy doing. You don’t need to work out at the gym for 30-60 minutes 3 times per week to be “in shape” or to be healthy. Movement in any capacity is better than being sedentary. Go for a brisk after dinner walk with your spouse, take up a sport like tennis or racquetball, create your own fitness circuit at home with a friend, or even go snowshoeing — my fiancé and I just purchased boxing gloves and training pads so we can take turns punching and blocking. It was SO fun, our heart rates were buzzing, and we got in a great workout in just 25 minutes and it only felt like 10. — Point being, find movement that motivates you, that you truly enjoy. When you find “exercise” that doesn’t feel like exercise, you’re more likely to incorporate it into your daily life and create a long lasting habit. Consistently performing something you like, whether easy, moderate or intense, is better than “crash” exercising intensely every few months and then getting burnt out and stopping for weeks or months at a time (been there, done that).
This all being said, have grace with your body, Learn how to know when its feeling down and out. Just like you shouldn’t force yourself through a fitness routine you don’t enjoy, you also should be careful to not force yourself through a workout when youre not feeling your best. Long gone are the days of #norestdays #pushthrough #nodaysoff – yeah, those are real hashtags I’ve used in the name of “health.” — Instead, understand that when your body feels like that, it needs to be taken care of in other ways: rest, extra nutrients, or restorative stretching and foam rolling. Having grace and learning your body cues is so important to building a healthy, sound, an lasting relationship with exercise/movement. Some days I want to do yoga, some days I want to go for a run/walk, and sometimes I just want to dance around my apartment to loud music — none of those are better for me than the other, they’re all a form of movement and they all benefit my health. So I challenge you to find the movement you love and enjoy, and build a healthy relationship with it; and to partner with your body to learn how to give it what it needs, but to not put it through more than it can/wants to handle.
Happy Sunday, friends!