Five Ways to Make Movement More Fun!

In a follow up to our “Five Ways the Fitness Industry Has Lied To You” I am going to discuss ways to incorporate more mindful and nourishing movement into your life. In that blog Melissa talked about how fitness and movement do not equal health and that the fitness industry has being lying to you for decades. 

Movement does not have to be punishing or come from a space of self-loathing. You do not have to pick apart your body and examine every area you dislike, and then determine a form of exercise that will “fix” the “problem area”. There is a different way. 

Nourishing movement ideally comes from a space of self-acceptance and body respect. That does NOT mean you have to love your body. Coming from a place of acceptance allows room for you to learn what feels nourishing, rather than aiming for a certain number of calories burned or X many steps. Acceptance is all about recognizing that the body you have here and now is the only body you’ve got. It is recognizing that in this present moment you can choose to nourish it, rather than punish it. 

Here are five ways that you can practice incorporating nourishing movement into your life:

1.     Check in. Ask yourself, what would feel good today? Some days you may want to do a hard, sweaty workout at the gym, while others you may prefer a calm walk outside, or a soothing yoga class. ALL forms of movement are ok, the most important part is checking in and learning to trust your body. It intuitively knows what is best, and you can learn to hear and trust its cues. It will tell you different things on different days, which is why making a practice of checking in with yourself can be so helpful. 

2.     Experiment with new forms of movement. Often times when you have been engaging in disordered exercise – exercise that is obsessive, compulsive and/or excessive – you have lost sight of what types of movement you actually enjoy or feel good for you. This is a great time to try new types of movement. Maybe go for a hike outside or try a new fitness class like aerial yoga or a new sport like roller derby. Movement is best when it is fun, empowering, and brings enjoyment to your life. 

3.     Nurture your mind and soul with movement. Moving your body does not have to be about the movement itself, it can also be about giving your mind and spirit some space to process through a difficult task or a conflict in a relationship. I remember when I was in grad school I would go for a walk to get my creative brain wires firing! While walking, I would think through how I was going to write my paper. A walk can also be a helpful way to process your emotions after having a disagreement with a friend or someone close to you.

4.     Make movement social! When was the last time that you went for a skate, ski, or snowboard date with a loved one or met a friend at the water park!? Consider adding movement through socializing. To make new connections join a meet up group that engages in a type of movement you enjoy or call a friend and plan a bike outing to your favorite ice cream shop! 

5.     Give yourself permission to take rest days. Rest is one of the most important parts of developing a nourishing relationship with movement. Your body needs time to rest and recover, just as it needs time to move. There is no rule to follow when it comes to rest. There may be periods of time where your body needs rest for multiple days, weeks, or even months and it is ok to honor that. If you are breaking up with excessive or punishing movement, your body may even take a year or two to come back to a baseline for nourishing movement. It is ok to give your body the time and space that it needs to rest and heal. Go ahead, pour yourself a cup of tea and savor the day of rest that your body needs. 

 Corrie in her roller derby days - skating for Denver Roller Derby’s Bruising Altitude  

Corrie in her roller derby days - skating for Denver Roller Derby’s Bruising Altitude  

 

Movement does not have to be a source of punishment or shaming. It can be pleasurable and nourishing! One of my favorite things to do is lace up my roller skates along with one of my former derby teammates and take a street skate around a local park. Let us know what types of movement feel most nourishing for you in the comments.