Discovering The Joy of Exercise
Fitness doesn’t have to be a routine or simply an item of ‘must-do’ activities that make up your daily list. At its most basic level, it is your ability to interact and understand your own body and its need to move and be physical.
We might have evolved from cavemen in the past three thousand years but actually we still produce the same fight or flight hormones as our ancestors and we really do need to use that energy through some form of exercise and activity, otherwise it can become toxic.
You need to give yourself permission to be physical. Whether that is spontaneously dancing around the kitchen while you are making your evening meal; doing a few squat thrusts and jumping jacks before you go to work in the morning or shoving on a pair of trainers and just running – Forest Gump style – just for the hell of it.
For some people, exercise is almost like a punishment. If there is no pain, then there is no gain. For these characters it is always about pushing one more weight or running that mile just a few milli-seconds quicker. The target is always to beat the previous achievement. And that is perfectly okay if that is your personality type.
Other people will find that approach both daunting and unsustainable. Injury, illness or a sheer lack of motivation to go through the pain barrier each time you exercise will soon turn many people off exercise altogether. These are the people who need a different, more empathetic approach.
The Joy of Exercise
For this second group, the focus needs to be on the joy of exercise – whether that is swimming, walking, belly-dancing or going to the spa. We need to understand and accept that our definition of exercise can include activities that help relieve stress and connect to both mind and body. Yes, sometimes a HIIT routine where you sweat buckets and put every muscle under stress is the only thing that will satisfy you. But at other times, depending on mood, levels of stress, what has happened during the day, then something gentler, calmer or completely different is the activity your body craves. It is a skill in itself but learning to read your body’s physical needs is the best way to ensure that you both enjoy and get benefit from exercise.
Exercise as a way of life
We see fitness as such more than just a plan you embark on, along with a diet, to lose weight. It’s a lifelong love of movement that will help you maintain good health and the physique you want.
When you start to see exercise in this way, it becomes far easier to make a commitment, based on self-love and self-affirmation, to make exercise a priority in your life. Getting regular, moderate exercise is smarter and more effective than forcing yourself to do gruelling workouts that can lead to injury or burnout.
Most of all, remember that combining a variety of workout routines and ideas can help keep your exercise program interesting so that you’ll be more likely to stay on the road to lifelong better health and fitness.
Some exercise/activity ideas for a happier, healthier you:
Go for a walk, have a regular massage, do some gardening, buy a skipping rope, join a dance class, get friends together for frisbee or softball in the park, learn a martial art, workout to an online yoga session.