When I say the word “exercise,” what comes up for you? Close your eyes for just a few moments and notice what thoughts and emotions you are experiencing, and what you may be feeling in your body. Take note of all of this without judgement or criticism…just notice. Be curious about why you are having the thoughts, emotions, and body sensations that you are having. If the thoughts, emotions or sensations become too strong or uncomfortable, bring your focus back to your breath or the feeling of your feet on the floor and give yourself a little space from the intensity of what you are feeling. As you slowly open your eyes, write notes for yourself about anything that came up for you.
What beliefs do you hold about what exercise is or is not? What beliefs do you have about yourself and your level of fitness? Take a few moments to jot these things down as well. Where do you think some of these beliefs came from?
I would like to challenge you to reframe your beliefs about exercise. Let’s begin by changing our language…rather than “exercise,” let’s use the term “Mindful Movement.” Our bodies are made to move. Regardless of our fitness goals, our bodies need movement for general health and wellness. Creating space in our lives for Mindful Movement allows us to focus on movement as an experience of not just the body but also of the mind. Introducing more movement into our day with the intent to improve our health and wellness mind, body and spirit allows us to be more fully present while we are moving. If thinking about exercise brings up negative thoughts and emotions for you, practice thinking about mindful movement as a gift, as self care.
What types of movement do you enjoy? Gardening? Dancing? Walking? Running? Golfing? Yoga? Tai Chi? There is no “good” or “bad” movement, no “right” or “wrong.” General guidelines include 150 minutes of movement per week. Any time you are moving your body it counts, so don’t worry about having to follow a specific plan. Easily adding movement to your day can include taking the stairs rather than the elevator, parking a little farther away from the entrance at work for more steps, or even just taking a 3-5 minute stretch break every hour at work. All of these add up throughout your week. For more purposeful movement, consider signing up for a class or calling a friend to go for a walk. Experiment to see what you enjoy.
~Nicole Hutchison, PT, CSCS, Holistic Health & Integrative Nutrition Coach