Whether we are talking stars and stripes or spin bikes, freedom is something we can all appreciate. Though most of us are not literally being held captive in the name of health, sometimes it can feel that way. Being detained by obsessive thoughts surrounding your fitness routine is no fun and, ironically, can undermine the very thing you are trying to obtain: feeling good in and about your body.
As a culture, we are becoming increasingly obsessed with physical fitness. This is not in its own right a bad thing (even aside from the fact that it keeps me employed….). Putting a positive spin on it, we’ve collectively realized the negative impact that a sedentary life has on well being and are committed to do something about it.
However, anyone with obsessive tendencies can tell you that exercise habits can make a fabulous focus. Stick-to-itiveness is a highly praised attribute in our modern society, as is having a fit physique. People pleasing and scratching that perfectionistic itch? Count me in. However, though the hamster-on-wheel approach to fitness may work for a little while, few of us can subsist on it for long. Our brains and souls tend to long for more richness and depth, and so do our bodies.
The thing is, sometimes it is hard to know whether your execution aligns with your deeper intention. The following are three ways to ensure more freedom when it comes to your fitness routine:
Country Body, Tis of Thee: It’s easy to slip into a place of exercising from a place of self-flagellation rather than a place of self love. Regularly reminding yourself of your highest intentions when it comes to your health can be helpful. On a walk or run, swap your regularly scheduled programming for affirmations or inspiring talks (you can find plenty of free recordings on YouTube) or swap out that class with the boot-camp-style instructor for one with a more nurturing vibe.
-Proud to Be an
American Active Person: I have long told my clients “Any movement is good movement”. Getting caught up in always running a certain amount of miles, lifting a certain amount of weight, or in other words expecting to look and perform the exact same way for the whole of your life is unrealistic. Honor that, like the rest of life, our bodies are ever changing and cyclical (especially if you are a woman!). Rather than taking the all or nothing approach, recognize that amount of activity over a life span has more effect on overall health than less frequent intense workouts.
Land Legs of Liberty: Finding more sweetness in your routine can sometimes be a matter of mindset. Like the old saying goes “It’s not so much what you do, but how you do it”. Looking at movement as something you get to do instead of something you have to do can be very freeing.