The human body was made to move. Our parts (and our whole) simply function better when we are active. It would be great if there was a magic formula that told us exactly what to do, when to do it, and for how long, but that doesn’t exist. We know there is a minimum and maximum level of activity that we should all adhere to if we are truly interested in practicing good self-care, but how do we measure it?
Although advice varies widely as to what exercise is good and how much is enough, we’d like to simplify it for you. Movement is good for us, but often our emotional and logical brains get in the way and complicate the situation. In an attempt to find more ease in our daily lives, worrying about movement defeats the purpose of doing it. Moving your body should be an easy thing to do, be aligned with your interests and values, and should add enjoyment to your life. If you struggle with this concept, you may be struggling with your perceived expectations of exercise.
Movement vs. Exercise
Is there really a difference between moving and exercising? Moving sounds gentle, simple, and…easier. Sometimes exercising just sounds sweaty, disruptive, and, well…difficult. We have grown accustomed to the notion that if we work out harder, faster, and longer, we will feel better and be healthier. Exercising is movement – moving is exercise, plain and simple. If you have trouble because you believe exercise is too hard or just moving is not hard enough, step away from the words themselves and try to embrace the intention of loving yourself and treating yourself well. A few tips:
- Start where you are.
Attempting too much, too soon is usually a recipe for disaster- you’ll be too sore or too frustrated to keep it up.
- Adjust your attitude.
This is about self-care, this is about a healthier lifestyle – for the rest of your life. View exercise as pampering yourself.
- Ignore judgement and criticism.
Moving is moving, quit comparing yourself and your efforts to other people.
- Be realistic.
If something isn’t working for you, try something else. If you know you are not moving enough, move more or faster.
- Make it a ritual.
Schedule exercise time into your day. Place your self-worth high on your list. Develop other supporting practices or routines into the ritual that will encourage you (new workout clothes, music, friends, etc.)
- Don’t overthink it.
If you are having a stressful day or your plan gets rescheduled, fit in whatever you can, such as ab work while catching up on your favorite show, or a short walk instead of a longer run.
Whether you are a weekend warrior or prefer a quiet walk in the evenings with your dog, the most important thing is to find ways to move that honor your body, mind, and spirit. Ultimately, this is what brings ease to your life and your well-being.