Finding Exercise You Can Enjoy
Find movement that respects your mental, emotional and physical needs, instead of forcing your body to move in an uncomfortable way simply to burn calories or lose weight. There is something for everyone and every mood in exercise.
As you may know, it can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise and to enjoy it in the midst of everyday life. Exercise can easily turn into another “to-do” on the seemingly never-ending list, and it can get placed on the backburner quite easily, especially after a long day at work. Sound familiar?
It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern or to hop on the next workout bandwagon because everyone else seems to be. But if we’re bored and/or not enjoying the movement, we need to rethink what our individual bodies, minds, and spirits are craving.
Believe it or not, it is possible for you to find and fit movement into your life that you truly enjoy, whether you currently exercise or not. The key here is finding the movement that best works for you. It’s all in how you think about it.
For instance, what if the next time you exercise, you actually look forward to it, as a break from your to-do list? What if you focus on finding joy, energy and stress relief as you move your body, instead of burning calories, fat and fitting into those skinny jeans?
Can exercise help with weight loss and management? Yes, of course! But if our relationship to exercise is purely linked to weight and aesthetics, chances are we will view it as a chore and something we must do, instead of something we get to do.
The next key here is finding the movement that best works for you, both mentally and physically. Research shows the more we truly like a specific workout, the more likely we will be consistent, and the less likely we will seek out junk food as reward afterwards. Why? Because it feels good. Despite the old “no pain, no gain” adage, exercise does not need to be military-like. It should be more like a celebration of our beautiful working bodies.
To find your joyful exercise of choice, experiment. Ask yourself what you love. Love to dance? Try a Zumba class. Love to be in nature? Look up nearby hiking trails and go for a solo or group hike. Just want to be outside? Take a bike ride, walk or jog around your neighborhood. Looking for movement rooted in spirituality? Go to a yoga class or download some on YouTube. Love to make new friends? Join a local running or walking club, or take an exercise class. Have joint pain? Go for a swim or try an elliptical machine. Still have no clue? Just start with walking and go from there. And remember, variety in movement is wonderful for your body and mind, so don’t pigeonhole yourself into just one form.
One last thing: Planning is wonderful when it comes to sticking to an exercise routine. However, it’s important to remember that each day is different and the more we enjoy exercise, the more likely we are to continue.
So, if you have an intense workout plan but didn’t get enough sleep, take a walk instead. Or, if you planned for a walk but feel the need for more exertion, go for a run instead. Give yourself grace and notice the difference once you start to tune in, and have fun in your body.