Unless you live under a rock, and I doubt that you do, you are fully aware that having some regular physical activity in your life is beneficial. It is just a fact of human existence. Physical activity is beneficial. Period. No one can dispute it. Regular physical activity has a multitude of long-term health benefits, and every single person on this planet can benefit. Heck, even if you are incapacitated in some way, it is highly recommended that you participate in regular movement—even if it is done for you with the help of a physical therapist.
But, in an effort to make sure that we are on the same page, here are some of the benefits of regular physical activity:
- Controls weight
- Makes you feel better about yourself
- Enhances mood
- Combats stress
- Boosts energy
- Promotes better sleep
- Improves your sex life
- Combats health conditions and diseases
- Increases your chances of living longer
- Helps you stay mobile
- Builds stronger muscles and bones
- It can even be FUN, perhaps a way to socialize too
I am sure you’ve heard this stuff, right? We all know that physical activity is beneficial, but many of us, including myself at various periods of my life for various reasons, do not participate. Knowing that it is beneficial is not enough to get us moving. There is so much more to it than that. It is far more about having the desire and motivation to do it. So, where does that come from?
To help you find YOUR Movement Mojo, I have a few tips!
First, refrain from using the word “exercise.” Exercise conjures associations such as, “I have to,” “I should,” “I will one day, someday, maybe,” to name a few. It can feel like a “pay your dues” approach that counts on sheer willpower for you to sustain it. For most of us, that does not last. When was the last time we got jazzed up about the idea that we have to exercise in order to [you fill in the blank]? That doesn’t feel good. So, I do not use the word “exercise” when I am referring to the subject in my own head or when I am talking with my clients. That word alone can bring up a slew of issues, none of which are helpful in getting people to move more. I also recommend refraining from using the word “should.” For anyone trying to focus on true self-improvement, “should” is a very disempowering word. Perhaps your family and friends can help here and point out whenever you use that word. Do whatever it takes, because that word drains your power. Instead, choose the word “could.” The word “could” implies choice. After all, there is power in making a choice. You always have a choice. You can be physically active or not. It’s totally up to you.
Instead of “exercise,” the word I use is MOVEMENT.
The most powerful thing about this concept is that every type of movement you do in your life counts. It is not just the intentional physical activity you participate in when you go to the gym or go for a run that counts. The word “movement” conjures up the idea of possibility. The ideal way to shift your mindset is to view movement as a gift that you get to give your body. Consider what energizes you. And I do not mean only physical energy. I mean forms of movement that truly energize your whole being!
Let’s take a real honest look at our two options for movement.
OPTION 1. Accept that you do not want to do intentional regular physical activity and be happy with that choice. The biggest mental and emotional shift you can make is to see it as a choice and be done with it. Maybe you are recovering from something or nursing an ailment that will not allow you to participate in much physical activity right now. Or maybe, like I did for almost a year, you are struggling with your ideas around what “counts” as actual, real exercise and are protesting the whole thing. I get it. Give yourself permission to give it a rest and be truly okay with it. Take the responsibility of your choice and own it.
OPTION 2. Choose to take on physical activity, but do it with an entirely different mindset. Do not view it as “exercise.” Instead, see it as movement and simply move your body more throughout the day. Every little movement that you do counts, and it can add up to big transformation over time, because it is sustainable. The secret with this formula is to find ways to move that connect with YOU and then just do it. You might even find joy in this process. Are you going to be a world-class athlete with this strategy? Not likely. But that is not who I am talking about here. I am talking about the rest of us. For most of us, movement matters and is all we need to focus on to get into a body-loving, sustainable self-care practice.
For those of you that want to MOVE MORE, what kind of activities would you like to do more of in your life?
As a revolutionary in the art of self-care, Shelley Hunter Hillesheim founded A Nourished Life where she is a self-care coach, published author, inspirational speaker, workshop leader, sisterhood builder and maverick for ambitious, driven women. She rescues depleted high achievers from overwhelm and helps them create the spaciousness and simplicity needed to nourish themselves with sustainable self-care habits.
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