You've heard of intuitive eating (right?). So let's apply the same concepts to exercise. The diet mentality preaches exercise as something a person "should" do in order to lose weight. Telling ourselves we "should" do anything pretty much guarantees we won't want to do it.
What if exercise was something you wanted to do? (Gasp) Is such a thing even possible? Our bodies are hard-wired to crave and enjoy movement. Here's a formula for intuitive exercise:
- Ask yourself "Do I want to move my body today?" If no, give yourself permission to rest.
- If yes, ask yourself "What type of movement does my body want?" Your body might want to feel power and strength, so something like pilates or lifting weights could feel good. Or your body might want something higher energy like dancing or riding a bike; or perhapes something lower key and relaxing like a gentle walk or yoga. Just like we crave different types of food, we also crave different types of movement.
- While exercising stay connected to your body. Listen to the feedback it's giving you. Stop if something hurts or if your body becomes fatigued.
- After you're done exercising, take a moment to thank your body for the amazing gift of movement. Check in to see how your body is feeling. How are your energy levels? Exercise should enhance your energy, not deplete it. How's your mood? Exercise has mood-enhancing properties.
It's common to fear that if you choose to exercise intuitively your body will become completely sedentary and you'll never move again. This same fear happens with intuitive eating – that if left to it's own devices your hunger would be insatiable. This simply isn't true. When we truly listen to our bodies and give them what they want, you'll naturally find balance. You'll experience both hunger and satiety. You'll also experience the desire to both move and rest.