My sister, Nicole, recently wrote a post on “getting started.” Getting started with exercise.
Nicole’s Post: Fitness Friday
And she then asked people what their own personal exercise goals were.
This got me thinking.
A year ago, I would have said “to run a marathon.” Or to run a faster 5k. Or to bump up my weekly mileage.
My goal is simply this: To enjoy movement.
Intuitive eating is, for the most part, second nature to me. I was never raised to “clean your plate!” or “eat everything and then you can get dessert!” I know when I’m hungry and I know when I’m full. I’ve learned to respect and honor that.
Intuitive exercising, however, does not come so easy.
With exercise, I have historically thought in black and white. Unless I was going to do something intense and lengthy, that something was not worth doing. Enjoyment didn’t matter. Contentment with my body and movement..such a silly notion.
This was a lesson I needed to learn. Over and over again. And this lesson most certainly didn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. I’m still learning. I’m still teaching my body to respect itself and that it’s okay not to feel the need for an all or nothing exercise routine.
It took me a while to realize that movement could be enjoyable.
I grew up hiking 4,000 ft. mountains in New Hampshire. My family was incredibly active. We biked around the block every Sunday during the summer months. We played tennis, we went snowshoeing, we skied.
I hated it. My body was small, week, and not at all in shape. I hated that my little legs could only carry me so far. Movement felt like the enemy, trapping me of breath and dignity.
When everyone grew up, as the years went by, we slowly stopped hiking as a family. My sister got married, my brother moved away, and I was a freshman in college. It took all of this time between being a kid and becoming an adult, all of these years of simply (finally!!) not moving to decide that…you know what?…I kind of wanted to move again. This time around, however, I wanted it to be my choice and I wanted to enjoy it. I didn’t want to feel rushed or pushed or prodded. I simply wanted to revisit my childhood with a new frame of mind. I wanted to enjoy my body, and to enjoy my strength, at whatever level it might be. No comparisons, no self loathing. Just enjoying the movement.
So dad took me hiking.
We climbed, we talked, we ate cheese and gorp and bagels. I breathed the fresh air that I once hated and now loved. I walked through my childhood with a new pair of eyes, a new pair of legs that could now carry me over the large stones and fallen trees.
I loved it. I loved the movement. I loved the peace. I loved that I could stop and eat or catch my breath whenever I wanted. I loved that there was no other being around but the two of us, that we could talk about whatever we pleased because we had all the time in the world.
Ever since that point in time, exercise has taken on a new light. There are times when I feel like a morning 2-mile run is not enough. But then I remind myself that I’m enjoying it. This isn’t forced movement. This isn’t “because the doctor said” or “remember what you ate last night???” or “you need to feel a burn to make it worth it.” This is being happy with who I am and enjoying the crunch of snow beneath my feet and treating my body with respect and dignity. This is wanting to be healthy because I’m worth it. This is clearing my head before I go to work, taking in the gorgeous sunrise.
If I don’t feel like running?
That’s okay. Because I love yoga too. I love walking and dancing and biking.
This took me years to realize, but…you know what? I really just love to move.
My brother Matt, me, and my Dad on a hike up Mt. Canon in the White Mountains, New Hampshire on my birthday of 2011.
QUESTION: Do you love moving? What is your favorite activity? Have you always loved being active or was it a learnt process?