The benefits of an intuitive relationship with movement are pretty awesome. Decreased anxiety, deeper mind-body connection, increased muscle strength, improved body image, better sleep, improved health markers, and more?
Sign me up!
My love for helping you experience a more joyful, intuitive relationship with exercise (and all these awesome benefits along with it) is why I created UNMEASURED.
A great step towards creating an intuitive relationship with movement is to RELEASE THE RULES.
Many people are walking around with a bunch of movement “rules” that were consciously and subconsciously picked up from diet culture messaging. These “rules” are the requirements you’d have to hit to feel like movement “counts.”
Things that commonly come up when clients share these rules with me are:
- Must workout for a certain length of time
- Must exercise in specific ways
- Must move a certain number of days per week
- Must hit a certain heart rate
- Must break a sweat
- Must burn a certain number of calories
- Must feel sore afterward
Psst… here are some signs that you might be experiencing some of these rules around movement: you have fear or guilt around not working out, even if you’re injured. Your movement is tied to what you eat (i.e., you exercise to “make up for” something you ate), using exercise as a way to control the way your body looks or to try to fix your body. You avoid movement because it feels impossible to keep up with all the things you “should” do.
Now is a great time to check in with the rules or shoulds you’ve picked up about exercise along the way.
First: Movement rules can keep you from exploring forms of movement that you actually enjoy!
Back in the day, my movement rules kept me from my two current favorite forms of movement: barre and walking (not “intense enough” and didn’t “burn enough calories”).
Anything coming to mind for you that your rules hold you back from enjoying?
Releasing the rules makes more space for enjoyment, which is a central component to an intuitive relationship with movement.
Second: Movement rules can keep you stuck in an all-or-nothing mindset around movement.
Have you ever had the feeling that you need to follow all the rules or… what’s the point? I.E.., If you can’t get to a 60-minute sweaty cardio class, why move at all? Nothing else is good enough!
When you let go of the rules and open up your expectations around movement, you can live in what I like to call the ‘nice place in between.’
Movement doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. It doesn’t have to be a sweaty hour or nothing at all. It can be a stroll around the park, a 20-minute barre class with me here, or a dance fest in your kitchen!
Third: Movement rules can trigger guilt + shame!
If you’ve got all these rules that define ‘success’ in terms of movement and then you don’t or can’t follow them perfectly all the time (and honestly… who can?!), how does it make you feel?
Like a failure? And when you feel like you’ve failed, does it bring up guilt? Shame? Feelings of not being good enough?
Do you beat yourself up? Commit to a plan to ‘make up for it’ tomorrow? Google how to have more willpower (FYI, I used to do this ALL. THE. TIME.)? Does it impact your food choices? Influence how you see yourself?
I’ve seen so many situations where the rules have been a catalyst for self-bashing. And, I’ve never seen a situation where it actually ended in someone taking better care of herself.
The thoughts (and then feelings) that not being able to follow movement rules bring up can be devastating!
Lastly: Movement rules are the antithesis of flexibility.
What your body needs at this moment, what your lifestyle allows at this moment, what you’re craving at this moment, what you enjoy at this moment, what you have access to at this moment, what your priorities are at this moment are NOT static.
As humans – we are always changing! An intuitive relationship with movement supports that.
Movement is a way to take care of yourself, which means it’s got to be able to change as your body and life do, too. If you’ve got all these rules around what ‘counts,’ there isn’t much room for flexibility.
Remember: It all counts because in the end, nobody is counting.
What rules, shoulds, pressures, and/or expectations around movement (i.e.. “what counts”) are you currently internalizing or experiencing?
Let me know what comes up for you when you do some rule reflecting + releasing!