Happy, Healthy Body - Move Everyday
In years past I have tried, and failed, to make physical fitness a regular part of my daily routine, like showering or brushing my teeth. I knew the amazing health benefits that exercise gives not only to me physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Maybe I was overthinking the specifics of my fitness plan? Or possibly, I was being too ambitious by trying to do too much? My intentions were always good in the beginning, but after a few days or weeks, my desire and drive would start to fade. This always, ultimately, left me feeling disappointed in myself.
I was finally able to break this continuous insane pattern by changing my focus. My experience literally reminded me of that famous quote that says, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." It was after I completely changed my approach to fitness that I was able to turn it into something I wanted to do everyday. Exercise became really enjoyable for me after I let go of the dread of working out. I realized I held an unloving expectation of myself by pushing myself too hard regardless of how my body felt. (By the way, this is not the same as challenging yourself during your work out.)
The new me was determined to start to listen to my body for the first time. I aimed to move my body according to my unique needs and schedule for that day. I allowed myself to make allowances for my hormones, sleep schedule, emotions, or how I was coping with life that day. I did this, not by letting myself off the hook, but by really tuning into what type of exercise my mind and body craved. I like to call it compassionate accountability. Don't get me wrong, I still held myself accountable to move my body every day. My daily motivation comes not only from the amazing health benefits I receive, but most importantly, I consider exercise an act of self love.
This major lifestyle change happened for me when I finally shifted my focus to compassion. Exercise became a self nurturing behavior rather than a self punishing one. I will try to explain what I mean. For example, sometimes I wanted to be in nature and walk at a lower intensity to the park or near water, enjoying the fresh air and birds chirping. Other times I wanted to alternate walking and sprinting at the park so I could push myself and sweat more. Or maybe I would incorporate sprinting up a small hill a few times. Some days I wanted to dance and jump on my rebounder.
I specifically noticed after a few months of this approach (and when I was into a regular routine of exercising everyday), my body craved more of a challenge. So to kick it up a notch, I joined a gym and reignited my love and passion for lifting weights. Not to mention, I absolutely love the challenge of the different fitness classes my gym offers. One of my favorites to this day is Zumba, where I can combine my love of dance with getting a really good sweaty workout in. A win win in my book. This goes along with my philosophy that exercise should be something you love doing, so that you will continue.
In summary, now that exercise is something I look forward to daily, I feel confidant it will remain a regular and consistent part of my healthy lifestyle. I encourage all of you to not only move your body everyday, but check in with yourself first, so you are nurturing yourself as well.
Copyright © 2018 Kathleen De Haven – All Rights Reserved.