Moving Our Bodies Toward Health
Exercise. You know you need to do it. You also know all the reasons why you don't do it...or you don't do it enough. You know that it's good for your overall health. When you exercise regularly, blood pressure stabilizes, joints and muscles gain strength, aches and pains diminish, energy increases. These are all good things. So, why does it seems so hard to make regular exercise happen?
If you're like me, I rarely do what someone tells me I "should." There's a part of me that is really rebellious and will avoid the act of doing something just because an outside force is trying to make me. Really. Character flaw or strong woman, you decide. Exercise never came from within myself, as something I wanted to do...just something I "should" do...so I never looked forward to it. There were seasons in my life when I managed regular classes or routines. I felt great, but they eventually fell by the wayside and I became more sedentary again.
For the first 40 years of my life, I always felt like I should be exercising to lose weight. I have been overweight my entire life. I remember feeling concerned about my waist line as a 4 year old in Kindergarten. My older sister commented on my size, my "friends" commented on my size, seemed like everyone knew what size I "should" be. My body didn't get the memo. As a result, I never felt comfortable in my own skin. Exercise was punishment. Gym class became something to be avoided as no one wants to be the last fat girl to cross the finish line during the one mile run. I came up with many excuses and reasons I couldn't run (and perfected my hand forged excuse note).
Do you see what was happening? My childhood brain believed that exercise was something I had to do because my body was defective. Before even beginning to move, I was defeated because I believed that body I lived in was not right. It was broken. It was "less than." Therefore, exercise was a punishment for my existence in an inadequate body.
I'm not the only adult living with this deeply ingrained mentality. I didn't even realize this mentality was there until a year or two ago. How many of you avoid the gym because you feel you don't belong there? How many of you don't go walking with groups because you don't want to slow everyone down? How many of you don't ride your bike because you don't like how your butt fits on the seat?
A couple years ago I began going to Yoga class regularly again. It always feels so good when I go but it's frequently a task to get myself there. One day I was struggling to decide if I was going to go or not and I felt a voice inside myself. (If this sounds crazy to you, bear with me...) It was the voice of my childhood self. It was 4 year old Amy who liked to play and liked to
move. It was 4 year old Amy before she
believed she was too fat. She asked me if we could go to yoga tonight. She asked if I would take her. She said it made her feel so good and she loved playing with the poses and standing on one foot. It was an "Ah-Hah" moment for me. I wouldn't go for myself, but I would go for her. I felt really tenderly toward her and I told her of course we would go. I looked at her as I would look at my own children. I drive them all over the place to go to events and classes that bring them joy. Of course I would do the same for her.
We went to class that night and I felt her presence within me the entire time. She was full of joy. Every bend, every plank, every pose...she enjoyed it all. She (and I) were full of pleasure at what our body could do. We were amazed at the miracle that is us.
That single day changed the way I look at intentionally moving my body. I don't exercise because I HAVE TO or because I SHOULD. I move my body because I CAN and I WANT TO! Wow, what a profound difference! Did you realize that movement can be fun? It can be playful! It can be nourishing to soul and body!
I want to change your mind about movement today too. As we move into Spring this month (hopefully), I'd love for us all to think about how we could care for our bodies and ourselves just a little bit more. Can we help ourselves have a little more movement than we did last month?
Over on my facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/redhousebirth/, we're focusing on movement this month. I'm presenting a challenge for the month of March. You can joing the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/291249604900716/
It's very simple:
I hope to see you posting lots of pictures of your beautiful self doing active things you love! Care for yourself, care for the child within you and celebrate every new step you take!