I know, you know, we all know that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But why? Of course it can help with weight loss, put you in a better mood, combat disease, help you age with more ease, have better quality sleep, and the list goes on. But what’s the real knit and grit behind why moving your body is foundational to health? Our mind and body are so entwined as far as intelligence and emotion. To be well in one it is necessary to be well in the other. To physically move your body is an expression of creativity and mindfulness. Yep, that sounds a little woo but think about it. The feeling you get from doing something physical that you enjoy like dancing, lifting, hiking, swimming, the sheer satisfaction from yard work is akin to meditation or being in that sweet, sweet state of flow. We exercise not only to be healthy, but to feel empowered, confident, and awake in our body.
The ability to move your body is a gift and something so many of us take for granted. Our bodies are designed to move! Our ancestors were always on the go and now we live sedentary lifestyles with heads bent, scrolling on our phones looking for the newest, trendiest quick fix for weight loss (or dog memes). Moving feels SO good! We feel invigorated after a great sweat session, a day of yard beautification, or a climb up a mountain. When we move we produce endorphins that make us feel oh, so fabulous and allow us to ride that rush long after we’ve finished. Strength means something different to everyone and it can also vary from day to day. To me, strength used to mean squatting 250lbs and working 50+ hours per week. I feel much differently these days. I find empowerment and strength through sweating and moving in ways that bring me joy and fun and will hopefully keep this body healthy for my lifetime. A strong body can help heal a weak mind. The way we train our bodies translates to the way we train our minds. It’s all connected. To me, there is no greater sense of empowerment than being physically and mentally strong and capable.
Exercise is a way to get to know your body. You learn the way your body feels when it moves and makes shapes. You learn how your squirrely knee feels when you overtrain. You learn how to dig deep when you’re tired and ease up when it’s time. I’m obsessed with bodies and not just my own. Watching them work is incessantly fascinating. Some bodies glide with ease and some move carefully with intent and some do their own dance their own way. Training my body taught me how to live. Yes, it is my job to take care of me, so I can serve and show up for others, but I genuinely love feeling my body ride a bike or roll through a vinyasa (even on days when chaturangas feel like shit). Through sweat is how I find myself, it’s how I get into my head and use my brain or shut off my brain if that’s what needs to happen. Even on days when I don’t feel like putting on my shoes and moving, I know how I like to feel and exercise is a surefire way to get me there. You are your longest relationship so spend some time getting to know how you look and feel in total and get comfortable with you. Become aware of how you work and embrace it.