Have you ever made RULES for your exercise?
I’m not talking about goals here…I mean super-strict, somewhat spiteful, harsh rules to trick your body into exercising. I’m guilty of doing this on many occasions and notice it happen in conversations around me all. the. time.
I recently connected with Samantha Skelly’s work called Hungry for Happiness. While her company focuses on food and trusting your body, but an article of hers I read led me to draw parallels to my fitness lifestyle. Her description of food ‘rules’ rang true for more than just eating.
Here are some examples of Exercise RULES I used to put on myself…
1) I have to run 2 extra miles (because I ate that extra piece)
2) I have to do 10 more reps (because my plan says so)
3) I can’t go to happy hour unless I work out first
4) I can’t miss more than one day of exercise in a row
5) I have to go to a class if I signed up for it
Have you made rules like these too? How about these gems I’ve heard from friends or family members in the past:
‘Let’s have two drinks. We worked out, so we deserve it!’
‘I’m tired but I can’t miss a day of this fitness class.’
‘If I work out in the morning then maybe I can meet you for brunch.’
‘My knee hurts but I have a race coming up so I need to track my miles.’
And on and on and on…
So when are we done making rules and ready to listen to our bodies?
I’ve been committing myself to refusing this language and outlook towards exercise. Exercise is not a form of punishment for eating what we deem as ‘unhealthy’ food. It is not something that gives us points to eat more than what our body needs. Exercise, fitness, activity, movement…are all ways to deeply connect with our bodies in real, meaningful ways. You might do it for the rush, for the fun, for the challenge, for the medal…but do it for YOU!
Following along with Geneen Roth’s ‘guidelines’ for food, I’d like to share some ideas I have for Exercise Guidelines.
Treat Yo’ Self: Exercise Guidelines
1. Move your body often (this could mean daily, weekly, depending on YOUR body)
2. Move the parts of your body that feel good to move
3. Rest the parts of your body that have pain
4. Move until you feel satisfied (this might include feeling challenged, feeling at peace, feeling connected)
5. Listen to your body for cues (ie: faster/slower, when enough is enough)
6. Stretch before, during, and after moving
7. Do activity that you love, that makes you feel alive inside (if you haven’t found it yet, keep looking! It’s out there)
I’m smiling just reading over this list. Isn’t it much more approachable? Can we all agree to be just a bit kinder to our bodies? They will love us back for it 🙂
Photo Nikolas Moya