As a personal trainer, one of the things I’ve been seeing a lot is that most people are confused about physical activity. For over a decade I’ve seen clients swinging back and forth between the two extremes: the few weeks or months of intense training, and then the exact opposite. Just like with dieting, yo-yoing those kilos up and down, they never really find the middle ground with movement and activity level either.
They are not to be blamed. We live in a world where we are either “on a diet” or pay zero attention to how we eat and we either “train hard or go home”. And somewhat this diet culture, along with the fitness industry left us with the all-or-nothing mindset.
As a result, we engage in training sessions we don’t even enjoy but hope to give us results, we use our gym memberships to punish our bodies for not looking as we’d want, and join those high intensity classes to compensate for our poor eating habits. We maintain it for a while, but when there’s no enjoyment in what we do, it’s not long before we give up on it, frustrated, disappointed, feeling short-changed for all the wasted effort and the suffering without any visible results.
But here’s the thing: the joy of movement is inherent in us. Moving and being physically active are our bodies' natural default state of being. It’s not a punishment, it’s not an hour of suffering 3 times a week.
There is a huge difference between physical activity and training/exercise. So if the training sessions or exercise classes are not bringing you joy, do something else! The whole idea is well-being, and that cannot be achieved if the road to it is causing you mental or emotional strain.
Take a moment here and reflect on what brings you joy and makes you feel good. Listen to your body and find something you enjoy doing. Feel good after the activity and don’t just push through it. Enjoy it, have fun with it, and look forward to the next one.
Consistency is the key, so whatever you’re doing, make it enjoyable to sustain it. If you’ve lost your joy for exercise, think back to your childhood and recall your favorite ways to move back then when it may have felt less loaded.
- Go for a walk;
- Go swimming;
- Lift free weights;
- Work with your own bodyweight;
- Do yoga;
- Do some gentle stretches;
- Go on a hike;
- Join a pilates class;
- Try Tai Chi;
- Get on a bike.
Find something that you enjoy and your body appreciates. There are so many ways to move your body, and if you want it to become a habit, it has to be rewarding.
What's your way of moving your body?