Today’s Try This Tuesday is a bit different. Rather than share a recipe or a product to try, I felt inspired to share a few thoughts about exercise.
For many people, myself included, “exercise” is a bad word, carrying negative connotations. Just saying the word aloud can make me feel obligated or guilty or a mix of those two strong emotions.
Inspired by a quote I saw, on another blogger’s post about body image, my hope with this post is to shift energy and perceptions around this vital activity.
Exercise vs Movement
I could not find the source for the words, however the quote is:
“Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate.”
Reading it, my mind immediately substituted the word movement for exercise.
Movement is a celebration of what your body can do..,
I love that. I’m all about celebrations. Thinking of exercise, movement, in this way removes the sense of obligation. Rather than an activity I have to do, movement becomes a celebration of what my body can do, even if it does it imperfectly or differently from another.
When I was struggling with chronic sciatica, and walking with a limp and a cane, it became important to focus on what my body could accomplish rather than how it was failing me. Every little victory was cause for praising my body, especially my weak left leg.
As I healed on a plant based diet, my ability to move freely and without pain increased. Walking became easier, the cane no longer necessary, which resulted in true rejoicing.
What if I viewed all exercise, all kinds of movements, in this celebratory way?
Exercise is Not a Punishment
There’s no denying that moving the body is beneficial to health. Doctors recommend that children and teens gets 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily. Adults benefit from 2 1/2 to 5 hours weekly of moderate physical activity or 1 1/2 to 3 hours a week of vigorous exercise.
Shifting my perspective helps me to see that exercise is not a punishment for what I ate. I know that I can’t out exercise a bad diet. I can’t out essential oil a poor diet or outthink it or meditate it away. In my experience, a healthy whole food diet is the foundation of optimal health. Every other practice is built upon that solid foundation.
Movement, exercise, is important. It helps to regulate the systems of the body, improves heart health and sleep, calms the mind, Lowers stress and tones the muscles. It’s my thoughts about it that sabotages my willingness to engage in physical activity.
While some thrive on hard core work outs and rigorous training, and that’s absolutely wonderful if they enjoy it, I am inspired by the celebration of movement. I have fun when I’m trying new things, or dancing alone to my favorite tunes, or I make exercise a game. That’s what works for me.
What works for you? Do you love to dance, ride a bike, roller skate, or jump on a trampoline? Is walking or hiking trails what makes your heart beat faster, literally, or is swimming or horseback riding your passion?
For Try This Tuesday, try moving in new ways. Experiment. Shift. Get a little crazy. Or settle into yoga poses and hold them. Just move in ways that bring joy. And in the moving, celebrate the wondrous way that the body responds.