Saying Yes to Movement

As someone who only began her fitness journey in May of 2021, I’ve come to recognize how freeing and important movement is for a fulfilled, healthy, and happy life. Movement is such a staple in my life now and I notice the difference when I’m not getting around to it.

Fitness can be inconvenient — our lives don’t typically revolve around it. It’s something you have to make time for and commit to. A lot of the time, it’s really not fun, because motivation rarely plays a part in getting to it. It’s all discipline and willpower of the mind. But the practice of finding something you love and committing to can be a beautiful and rewarding thing.

I hope this post inspires you to say yes to finding something you love — to trial and error — to movement that makes life manageable.

The Nitty Gritty of Movement

Your mental and emotional health status seriously benefits from movement. Your mental and emotional wellbeing needs movement. But the greatest thing about movement, is that it can look like and take any number of forms. There is no “one-size-fits-all.” So when you think of movement as a sweat-inducing session at the gym and it’s not your cup of tea, don’t force it to be. If what you do works for you and is something you’re able to even sort of enjoy, you’re in a great place.

Sure, the benefits of movement are plentiful — we’ve been hearing about them since grade school. But because there are so many benefits, you should be able to find a few that resonate with you and help spark your motivation even just a little. For me, my motivation and discipline for staying active come from benefits like knowing both my body and soul will feel ridiculously great afterwards, that my mind experiences a lot of clarity and opening, that it allows me to take a break from the stressors of life, and that I’m not only building sustainable habits, but muscle and strength for everyday life. So I urge you to find benefits that work for your life.

Everybody’s relationship with movement is different. Some approach it more aggressively — like bodybuilders and fitness instructors. Others approach it more casually — those just trying to feel good and enact healthy habits in their lives. So if your relationship with movement is a sore subject, there could be a few reasons. Let’s unpack a few I’m aware of — if your mindset is “all or nothing,” if you don’t allow rest days, if you have to meet certain calories to burn for a workout to count, if you feel like you have to workout, if it takes priority over your social life, if you feel anxious about missing a workout, and if you don’t allow yourself to go over certain calories eaten, your relationship with movement is potentially unhealthy. Recognizing these might help you break through those blocks and allow you to develop better habits.

A healthy relationship with movement should look like: feeling connected to your mind and body, feeling stronger or like you have more endurance or flexibility, allowing for rest days, feeling like movement relieves stress and anxiety (movement should not provoke it), getting moved on your priority list, allows for all sorts of movement types, acknowledging your body’s limits and working slowly with them.

It helps to shift your focus and energy on making movement fun and enjoyable — if it brings you some form of joy and breathability.

It’s also worth noting that your journey with movement will be a rollercoaster of ups and downs. I promise you that every human being has fallen off the wagon of consistency and determination. But the secret of success in fitness is just that — consistency. Which is beautiful. Because fitness is not “all or nothing.” The act of consistency allows you to take it one day at a time, one step after another; it allows you to reach all the milestones; it’s a great reminder that your one or two days of doing nothing and eating over calories isn’t going to ruin your progress, or put you back at square one; it allows for a mindset of continuance and patience; and it’s personally allowed me to remember that major progress will be a year-to-year endeavor; not a couple months worth of hard work and dedication, because fitness is not meeting one goal quitting when you’ve reached it. When fitness becomes a habit, consistency allows you to create bigger goals. Consistency is what gets you where you want to be.

Your journey with movement can be whatever you need it to be and feel like. You just have to commit to trying.

What My Routine Looks Like

I make sure that my weeks are filled with 3-4 days of movement. Whether it’s lifting at the gym, a walk for fresh air, yoga for grounding, or swim for nostalgia, I’m moving.

I really enjoy keeping my body in suspense when it comes to fitness. I enjoy incorporating different means of moving my body into my routines. I try to lift every week no matter what, but I enjoy throwing in a walk, swim, or yoga for an additional hour of cardio. It’s like a game for the brain; deciding what sounds the best for that day and for my body.

But I also listen to my body when it needs rest or something different altogether. Last week, all I did was yoga. It felt great and I was able to focus more on strength and endurance training. I will always advocate to tuning into what your body needs.

If you need inspo for easy movement, here’s a glimpse at what my last few weeks have consisted of:

– Gym: BACK & BIs (45-50 mins)
– Added Cardio: WALK (20-30 mins) or SWIM (30-45 mins)

– Gym: LEG DAY (45-50 mins)
– Added Cardio: WALK (20-30 mins) or YOGA (15-30 mins)

WEDNESDAYS (Slow Cardio Day)
– YOGA (30 mins)
– WALK (15 mins)

– Gym: CHEST, TRIs, SHOULDERs (45-50 mins)
– Added Cardio: WALK (20-30 mins) or SWIM (30-45 mins)

FRIDAYS (Slow Cardio Day)
– YOGA (30 mins)
– SWIM (30 mins)

– Recovery Yoga (15-30 mins)

I’ll always advocate for finding several means of movement. It helps the body develop strength in several areas and keeps the brain active. Being able to incorporate all of these exercises has been immensely beneficial to my mental and emotional health.

Remember that movement just has to feel good to you — it doesn’t have to look perfect or be aesthetically pleasing. Your fitness journey is entirely your own, and can look exactly how you need it to. As long as it works for you, you’re right where you need to be.

Say yes to intentional movement. Incorporate it into your life this year. See what comes of it. Fix your relationship with it if you need to. Practice patience, consistency, and discipline. Shift your mindset on fitness being good for your mind and body, not something you have to do when you don’t want to. Allow for trial and error and falling off the wagon. Just watch how far you get.

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