Q: “How can I enjoy movement more? Currently, I don’t like movement but I make myself do it because I know it’s good for me. I go on walks and I like to dance. But the work I do can really tire me out sometimes.”
A: What a great question!
There are SO many options for moving your body, so there’s no reason NOT to do exercise that you enjoy.
What do you need?
First of all… let’s take a moment to tune-IN to how your body feels and what she needs (right now).
Do something with me… close your eyes and really FEEL your body right now. Where do you feel the most in your body? What do you notice? Is it your chest, for example? Your legs? What is that feeling telling you?
If that feeling were energy waiting to be expressed through exercise, what kind of exercise would allow you to really express that energy?
You can daily check in with yourself on what kind of movement that you need.
If you’re someone who likes to plan exercise for the week ahead… What is the next week going to be like? Is it a slower week? When life/work is slower, what kind of exercise do you crave? Is it a busier or more stressful week? When life/work is stressful, what movement helps you to release that? What do you need?
Your desire for exercise will change depending on what season of life you’re in, where you’re living, and quite literally, what season it is outside. All of these things factor in and change our desire for WHAT kind of exercise we’re choosing.
The problem? We often judge ourselves for this desire in change. Some of us write it off as us “not following through.” We get into the swing of running, for example, and all of the sudden we’d rather lift weights.
Tune-IN to your body. Let go of judgement and let your desire for exercise shift and change. No judgement. Love your body by being flexible with her.
When you commit, you’re committing to yourself. So don’t overcommit. Make sure your expectations feel good.
I’ll give you a personal example… This week on Instagram (@paigeschmidt) I shared that I started going to a Body Pump class last week. When I first saw it on the schedule, my first thought was this: “Okay, I’ll do two Body Pumps per week and two GRIT classes per week.”
Then my loving I-want-to-keep-all-committments-I-make-to-myself-voice spoke and said… Hey, Paige… we’re just starting out here… Let’s just start and once we’re comfortable with that, we can add something else in.
Ha! Okay, okay! So I reeled myself in. I chose to commit to two Body Pump classes per week, for three weeks. My next goal? At that point, I’ll check in with myself and ask if I feel ready to add in something else. IF in that time, my body let’s me know (I get the craving) to do something in between BP classes, then sure! I can.
I was so thankful after my first class that I lowered my expectations because JEEZE… I was sore! For a solid 3 days. But my next class? Less soreness. I felt such an improvement. This encourages me to keep going.
Since all of this is feeling really positive and I’m enjoying the environment (which we’ll touch on more in this post) of the group class with an instructor I feel really drawn to continue going. I know how good it feels to have two classes in my week, for now.
Why do you do it?
The next thing I want to get curious with you about is… Why do you exercise?
Don’t do it for weight loss. That’ll only last a second and your motivation will ride like a rollercoaster. Choose a different reason that you exercise that will give you sustainable encouragement. Reasons that are not focused on “fixing” your body. Allow your body to change on her own if she wants to – let go of control.
Here are some other reasons you might exercise:
- I feel overall happier when I move my body
- I’m sitting all day long and have this pent up energy I need to get out
- It’s the best way for me to, literally, release stress
- It helps me to get out of my own mind and reduce anxiety
- When I exercise I really can feel that I’m taking care of myself
These are just examples (and also reasons why I exercise).
Environments you love
There’s definitely something to be said about immersing yourself in environments that you love. Now, this doesn’t have to be every single time you exercise… Sometimes you just want to move and the environment isn’t totally ideal. That’s okay!
I’m talking your regular routine… The gym you choose, the paths around where you live…
Where you live, what are several environments that you enjoy being in? When you’re there, you feel glad to be there. You know you’ll feel filled up because of it. Can you think of a few? (It might just be a room in your home where no one bothers you! Whatever it is, is okay.)
Immerse yourself in these places.
Use movement to fill you up
The last thing I’ll share here is use exercise to fill you up. Don’t use it as something that is punishment. Something that you have to do “to shed the weight.” To “fix yourself.” Something you do because you’ve been “bad” this week…
Think of yourself as a little child for a moment… If I tell you to go and exercise because you’re not good enough as you are or you need to be fixed or you’ve been bad… What do you think this is going to teach you about exercise?
THAT SAID… Don’t we tend to do that with exercise sometimes? Don’t we use it to “fix” ourselves and “punish” ourselves and to “make up for” where we feel not enough?
Let’s NOT do that anymore… If you’re reading this and you’re thinking “Wow, that feels so true for me… I have done that… and YES, that WOULD make me feel terrible around exercise…”
Then let’s commit, right now… together… to stop doing that. What can we do instead?
Let’s go back to the drawing board…
Again, think of yourself as a child…
If you rode your bike because it was fun and I never told you “good job!” because “it is the healthy thing to do” how much more would you enjoy it? If I encouraged your love of dancing because of how happy it made you feel, how fun would that be? If we took walks to explore and see nature and we appreciated how good it made us feel, would we dread it? If mom went to group exercise classes because she loved seeing her friends, she loved jumping around and it felt so good for her to do something just for her, wouldn’t you appreciate that?
Let’s have THIS sort of mentality around exercise.
- Find things that you really love
- Allow your desires to change for WHAT kind of exercise you want to do
- Only commit to what you know you’ll do and will feel good and keep your commitments
- Put yourself in environments that you look forward to
- Think of exercise differently so it’s doing something you love vs. doing something that’s good for you
If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in my next VIP Q+A please do so in the comments! I’d also LOVE to hear your thoughts on this post. What did you take-away from this post? If this blog post encouraged you… would you share it with a friend who might also enjoy it?