My own relationship with exercise has changed a lot over the past decade. When I was younger I used to exercise compulsively. On top of teaching group fitness classes regularly, I’d spend added time in the gym out of fear that I wasn’t doing enough. As I learned to soften around this, the pendulum swung in the other direction, and I found it difficult to feel inspired to workout or take “hard” classes.
These days I’m pretty in tune with what feels good and what meets a few different needs. I usually crave a balance of intensity, mindful movement, and tromping around outdoors.
Do you have a sense of what feels fully supportive to you?
Here are 4 questions that may help you gain clarity:
Do I even like this?
I am amazed by the number of women that do all sorts of exercise they don’t really enjoy some element of. Some run when they really don’t like running. Others go to yoga classes even when the practice or teacher does not resonate with them.
What do you like and why do you like it? There must be something you like about it. If there isn’t, do something else, or re-align with the positive benefits you enjoy afterwards.
Why am I doing this?
“Because it feels good right now” is a perfectly acceptable answer. So is any other answer. The point is that you answer it honestly. Hint: A “winning” answer will sustain you over time.
If I started exercising regularly, what would the threats be?
If you are contemplating starting a more consistent movement/exercise practice and seem to be putting it off, what might you assume you would have to change or give up? This is usually where the resistance lies. Would it be possible push-back from important people in your life? Does a perfectionist part of you assume that unless you have the perfect workout routine or amount of time available, that it’s not worth doing? Will you have to say no to other comfortable habits in order to get movement in? Do you harbor negative judgments about what it will mean about you if you tend to your body in this way?
If I took a little time off, what would the threats be?
If you are the type to never miss a workout, but your body may be asking for a break, what might you fear would happen with some time off? Do you think you’ll balloon out or gain tens of pounds? My guess is the only thing that will be threatened is your own fear…fear that something terrible might happen to your body if you took it easy for a bit. Prove this fallacy wrong, take a few days off, and liberate yourself from exercise anxiety. Also examine your judgments about what you feel it may mean about you if you took some time off.
Now I want to hear from you! Are you able to identify what your favorite ways to move your body are? What do you love? What’s not your favorite?