The Joy of Gentle Exercise

The Joy of Gentle Exercise

The Joy of Gentle Exercise

I have been exercising in a different way recently with a different quality, which has been life changing and very supportive for my body.

I worked as a physical therapist for decades and ‘told’ lots of people what exercises to do: I developed many individual programs for people to recover from injury and return to their specific sport, and used to pride myself on their achievements.

When people asked me what I did for my exercise program, I would laugh and say, “do as I say, not as I do.”

Slowly through my working life, I realised I needed to exercise: I could feel I was losing strength and tone as I was ageing. I’ve always been active during my day, and I used to think that was enough.

Not coincidently, a new gym opened very locally and had a special offer so I joined it. I enjoyed going at the start; I went swimming 3-5 times a week, attended some line dancing classes and an exercise class for over 50’s and I even had a personal trainer for a short period.

It was not long before I found myself swimming 50 lengths a session and if I didn’t manage that, I felt I’d failed myself. By the time I’d reached 80 lengths a session, I could feel how I was swimming much less for pleasure; rather, I needed to complete the goal.

But after a while I became complacent; I let my membership lapse and completely stopped exercising. The novelty had worn off. I then had an episode of lower back pain. I was quite stressed at the time with work and emotional issues.

I had started attending some presentations with Serge Benhayon at Universal Medicine but had not yet seen how life changing this was going to be.

Over the following couple of years I learnt a different way of caring for myself. A way that is far more gentle and tender. I now see the back pain was a great stop moment I was given to show me that I hadn’t been supporting my physical body and caring for myself.

I returned quite slowly to exercise, by walking and going occasionally to a local pool. My fitness level and muscle tone had plummeted in the gap of not exercising at all; my commitment to myself was also quite sporadic – I would exercise when I had the time, and if at the end of the day I had made no time, then it wouldn’t happen. The changes felt good compared to my previous way of living, my level of self-care had improved, but I still didn’t understand that how much I cared for myself had an effect in my whole day.

I am now finding a very different way of exercising, by feeling what my body wants to do. As I have more commitment to myself, my health and with this my fitness have improved. I could feel my intent for exercise had changed from wanting to keep fit to lovingly supporting my body.

I realised that this is my responsibility, to myself, to give my body more care and attention.

The body is my vehicle of expression and I have been telling others to do exercises for years, but not lived my own words. This is a huge opportunity for me to now reflect to everyone I meet by example, at work or in my daily life.

I have come to realise this is much more about the way I live my life, how I live in every moment, not just about exercise. It is about all the choices to look after myself that build a quality of caring for myself, knowing the body needs to be cared for lovingly.

I now listen to my body and exercise it whatever way I feel to, with great joy and confirmation for the health of my body. It’s my connection to myself that guides the exercise I choose to do, and supports me and my body to be Fit for Life… and now I’m off to exercise!

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  • Photography: Dean Whitling, Brisbane based photographer and film maker of 13 years.

    Dean shoots photos and videos for corporate portraits, architecture, products, events, marketing material, advertising & website content. Dean's philosophy - create photos and videos that have magic about them.