Exercise – it’s all in the movement

Exercise – it’s all in the movement

Exercise – it’s all in the movement

How much do we enjoy our exercise? Do we see it as a chore or is it something we actually look forward to every day?

When you look around, exercise is an activity in life that many people take part in. Be it going to a gym, walking or running, playing sport, or doing an online exercise class, there are so many types of exercise we can choose from, and that’s before we even consider how we exercise.

As a woman now in her forties I’ve had a keen interest in exercise since I was a teenager. This began with school sport and in particular, running, then going to aerobics classes at the local gym. By the time I was in year 12 I had already choregraphed my own stay-at-home exercise routine that consisted of stretching, a few cardio-based repetitive movements such as skipping and lunging, and some light weights. I used to do this in my bedroom and it was by far my favourite exercise and always left me feeling great in my body.

So long as I didn’t push myself beyond my body’s capacity, I almost always felt great after exercise, though those routines in my bedroom definitely had a different flavour to them than the exercise I did at school or the gym. The difference I can see now is that at home I was more connected, more still and steady in myself, and it was fun.

Since that time I’ve joined and left gyms, started and stopped different team sports, participated in many forms of yoga, and more recently signed up to an online exercise class. Throughout all these times one thing has stood out, and that is that the best I feel after exercising is when I’m actually connected to my body and moving it in a way that it wants to be moved – just like the teenager in her bedroom.

The opposite of this is when I’ve exercised for the sake of exercise or when I’m feeling unhappy with my body and looking for it to change. Usually this type of exercise has for me been a box-ticking activity to comply with ideas that I have about what my body should look like or do that has often left me feeling semi-satisfied, a little sore (sometimes) and uninspired. In effect, I’ve ticked the box in my head, but the benefits to my body and being have been very superficial, at best.

We know the human body loves movement, in fact it was built to move, but could it be that the way we move when we exercise can have a much more profound impact on our body and being if done in a way that honours exactly what is needed in that moment.

Ticking a box versus truly enjoying our bodies as we move … now that’s a whole new way to approach exercise.

These days, whether doing an online class or my own exercise routine at home, I feel how my body wants me to move first. Do I need to stretch a little further today, or a little less? Is it leg work or are my arms calling to be the focus? Do I need more cardio, a more energetic routine, or something weight and strength based with a stretch routine to finish?

I have found that honouring these small details makes all the difference in how I feel after I exercise, and feeling great afterwards is what inspires me to be more consistent in my exercise routine as it supports me throughout my whole day and not just in that moment. It inspires how I am at work, my food choices, how deeply I care for myself, and how well I sleep.

This all helps to counter the “I don’t feel like exercising” thought that often enters when we find ourselves in tick-the-box mode.

So, is it possible that we are actually selling ourselves short by ticking the exercise box and that there is a much more enriching way to look at exercise?

The true enrichment that can come from exercising in a way that honours the body through true movement is far beyond the usual benefits we once thought exercise offered, and something that leads to greater health, vitality and wellbeing.

Filed under

Body awarenessHealthy livingVitality

  • By Anna McCormack

    Woman, mother, advocate for anything that truly nourishes the body, food or otherwise.

  • Photography: Matt Paul