Moving your body

Moving your body

Finding a way to love moving your body, sometimes takes a bit of trial and error. 

One of the different fitness hats I wear is as a Spinning® instructor and it’s a class that you tend to either love, hate or haven’t tried it yet. Some of the other styles of working out are a bit less like Marmite, but there are certainly going to be ways to move that you love more than others. What are the benefits of exercise? How do you find the exercise which suits you? Simply, you have to try loads of different things.

At the moment there are so many different ways to try classes out from the comfort of your own home and often in a pay as you go format, so you aren’t committed in the medium to long term.

With my old mindset exercise was something to get through, it wasn’t there to be enjoyed but something to be endured. Nowadays, I have a very different view. I now look at a workout as a way to be strong, to help me sleep better, to achieve small incremental goals, to be with others (all be it in an online environment at the moment), to move to music, to be out in nature or to relieve stress . . . .

Trying new ways of moving

Letting go of the aesthetic driver to exercise, is a big part of the freedom we need, to try out new ways of moving. If we are coming to exercise to achieve a flatter stomach or slimmer legs then we can (in the short term) fall in to the trap of doing the exercise that aims to achieve that result, even if we aren’t enjoying it. In the medium term we might not continue with that type of exercise because it doesn’t have the desired effect, so what’s the point? Or because we have achieved the desired result and we’ve ticked that box and don’t need to continue.

Respecting the body that we have at this exact moment in time can free us from the outward looking, appearance driven exercise that has to be endured. Learning to accept that our bodies outward appearance is irrelevant to whether we are strong and cardio vascularly fit is one of the firsts steps. A daily mantra of ‘my body is good’ or ‘my body is strong’ can help. Accepting that our bodies do not need to look perfectly airbrushed and that we are all genetically predisposed to look a certain way – takes time. Taking time to adjust our mindset is well worth the investment. Once we have started on this journey, we are open to trying new and different ways to move.

There are so many different types of movement available to us to try out why not try as many as possible? Power walking, jogging, Pilates, yoga, weight training, Nordic walking, dance workouts . . . .

Give yourself permission to turn up to something new. You don’t need all the gear at the beginning, you don’t need to be perfect at it to try it out you just need to show up.

The benefits of exercise

We talk a lot about the mindset behind exercise and what drives us to make changes to do something different, often this is triggered by an event or experience. Despite making us feel better, there are many other benefits behind regular exercise which include:

  • Increased mobility
  • Improved balance
  • Increased cardiovascular strength
  • Stronger muscles
  • Better endurance
  • Increased work/ life balance
  • Stress management
  • Better quality sleep

Regardless of shape or size, regular exercise can bring many positives, even if experienced in the virtual world.

Finding my passion

I still remember the first Spinning®/indoor cycling class that I turned up to about 15 years ago. I didn’t have the gear for it – my cardio fitness wasn’t what is has been recently and every second of the class felt challenging, but I fell in love with it. The music was super loud and I found a rhythm in the beat to peddle up the hill to, and despite a couple of ‘what am I doing here’ thoughts I really was keen to do more. It took me a while to find an instructor that I really liked and from that point onwards I was hooked. I would get up early at the weekend to make his classes and head to the gym after stressful days at work and I remember raving about the BMX course inspired class he put together after the 2012 Olympics, to anyone that would listen to me. Not long after that he suggested that I might want to consider becoming an instructor myself and although it took me about a year to come around to the idea, I’m so pleased I did. 

Equally I’ve tried classes that didn’t suit me. I once turned up to high impact insanity style class and although I’m glad I tried it – it wasn’t for me. There just weren’t enough modifications to the moves to make them feel achievable. 

If we don’t open ourselves up to try and potentially not be the best at it then we might never find the movement that gets us up and moving with real passion. I love that part of my job is working with clients in different ways both online and 1 to 1 in person in the park. If you need any help navigating your way around the many different movement types and you would like to fall in love with exercise please get in touch.

Sara McDonnell

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