How to Love Exercise
Have you ever jumped out of bed with a smile on your face thinking, “Hooray! I can’t wait to run five miles! And what luck - it’s overcast and windy!”
No? Me neither.
If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen me pretzeled into yoga poses or preaching the gospel of exercising even when it’s cold or cloudy, so it makes sense that you’d think I’m one of those ‘can’t wait to exercise’ types. And I usually am! But over the last few months I’ve been facing overwhelming deadlines and even I, the devoted exerciser, have fallen off the exercise bandwagon.
But I’m pulling myself back up! Here’s how I’m doing it:
Think of it as movement, rather than exercise
A lot of us have negative associations with the word ‘exercise.’ We immediately picture getting chosen last in gym class or jumping awkwardly in the back row of a Zumba class. But what if we reframe this? What if we simply aim to move our bodies every day – and that movement can take whatever form we like?
Your daily movement can be a long walk to the farmer’s market or a hike with the dogs. It can be two hours of raking leaves or 30 minutes of playing tag with kids. Make it your goal to “move my body every day.”
If you’re not interested in the gym or structured classes – that’s absolutely fine! Our bodies just want to move, it doesn’t matter how. Whatever you are drawn to without making it complicated... do that!
Schedule time to move your body. Literally.
I’ve got all sorts of things tucked into my Google calendar – client meetings, interviews, school conferences … and time for movement. I’d never skip a client session because I “didn’t feel like going,” and I treat my runs the same way. They’re just as important to my well-being and success!
View it as reward and respite
I’m neck-deep in writing a cookbook, and sometimes my daily runs are my one break away from the kitchen. If you’ve got a demanding career or busy kids, you can probably relate. For many of us, our commutes and workouts are the only time we have to ourselves! If that’s your reality too, make an active decision to view this time alone as sacred. Whether you’re hiking or taking a yoga class, you’re engaged in self-care.
Write yourself a pep talk
Each night, a friend of mine writes a little note of encouragement to her Morning Self. They say things like “I know you’re going to want to sleep in, but you’ll feel so great if you ride your bike to work. You can do it!”
You could also add notes to the alarms you set for yourself. “6:30 am You’re going to have so much energy!” or “7:00am Your Afternoon Self thanks you for taking that spin class.”
Cement in your mind how good you feel after you move
People very rarely regret workouts, right? But that pesky gap between knowing and doing sometimes prevents us from doing things we know are good for us. Help your brain form the neural pathways that develop habits by focusing on how you feel after moving your body. When you’re sitting in your car after that hot yoga class, actually say – aloud – “Hot yoga makes me feel amazing.” When you’re lathering up in the shower after a long run, tell your body wash “Running makes me feel invincible.” Yes, it might feel silly, but it works!
We’re all busy. We’ve all got piles of legitimate excuses, full calendars, and warm beds that are more appealing than running trails. But our bodies (and hearts & minds) require exercise. Find some type of movement that you enjoy and then make it a daily, non-negotiable. The rewards will be tenfold. Promise.
How do you feel about exercise and movement? Have you found a way to be consistent...and enjoy it too? Tell me all about it in the comments!