A shift in movement; a look into the idea of exercise as a form of self-care, that movement can work as medicine not just a way to look fitter or work off calories.
There is a different approach to fitness of late; we aren’t just donning athletic outfits, grabbing a bottle of water and heading off to sweat it out to lose weight, there are many more reasons filtering in to the world of keeping fit. For one, the art of wellness is not just about how many cardio hours you put in per week, it is a delicate balance of diet, exercise, hydration, sleep and a good dose of mindfulness. Feelings are taking a stronger hold on society; approaching them, acknowledging that they are a strong part of us and handling them is paramount for living a harmonious existence. Meditation has become a key tool in the day to day for many to find that personal balance.
The shift I am speaking of comes in the form of individuals recognising themselves as just that; a single unique being coexisting with others within a societal framework. We are starting to take care of our whole selves, body, mind and spirit in order to function effectively and ultimately happily within such a structure. Each warranting as much attention and nurture as the other.
In this sense the act of exercising is no longer just a method by which to change something about ourselves, it is a fundamental factor contributing to our overall wellness and therefore can be looked at from a more medicinal approach. In order to be well, we need to achieve certain goals and routine exercise is one of them. Being well these days involves more inclusive conversations on how you are – looking internally and outlining your emotions and experiences, and who you are – being able to authentically represent a true form of self to your surrounding community and the world. Working out is more of a moment to take time out to encourage self care than just a fitness regime, this is a reflection on the way that culture is changing with regards to the reasons we move and work our bodies. Exercising is taking the form of necessary time for yourself away from a busy schedule, time to reflect and take care for yourself as part of a daily routine towards wellness. As a way of self-medicating, exercise can make us feel better; it is a known fact that we release endorphins during exercise and the literal pumping of the blood around the body increasing energy flow, the working of muscles, the stretching and usage of our incredible structure all promotes a healthy mind as well as a happy body. Let’s call it movement as medicine!
To continue this theory, prior to partaking in exercise we need to check on ourselves; how am I? How do I feel? And afterwards take another moment to reflect on the self; how am I now? How do I feel post-exercise? Have a look at the before and after responses and take note of the difference in your feelings. Keep a record of this and you’ll be able to register on what days you feel good, and vice versa, this can help you to work out contributing factors to those feelings; such as did you have a good or bad night’s sleep the night before? Did you have something pressing on your mind? Were you stressed out? What had you eaten? All your external experiences have an effect on your feelings and all will, in turn, affect your performance.
If you emerge from exercise with a more positive feeling than when you entered in, using words such as “better”, “happier”, “livelier”, “stronger”, then this reflects the benefits of the workout in itself; feeling better means literally that, you’re in a better position than you were before and this carries over into our day and life. Exercise as routine can serve as a positive feeling of empowerment to carry with you throughout the rest of your daily challenges and help you face them with an earned gumption. Being strong doesn’t necessarily relate to the power of your muscles, but more towards being well. Rather than just working out to become fitter we exercise as part of a daily routine to nurture the whole self.
The routines you choose to incorporate into your life in the form of exercise need to work for you personally. Find something that works for your body and that you are capable of. Pushing too hard and too fast doesn’t make us feel better, it can make things a lot worse, especially if you wind up injured and incapable of continuing any form of exercise! Choose your movements wisely by knowing yourself, your body’s story is unique and only you know it, so go with that knowledge when you enter into any form of physical exercise.
Meditation, as I mentioned, is also a key tool in finding that all important balance and personal harmony to live a peaceful, happy life. The combination of nurturing the body and mind through exercise, good diet, hydration, regular sleep, meditation, and healthy relationships will serve to also benefit the spirit and keep us balanced. This theory is backed up by the notion that we all need to spend more time getting to know ourselves; not just what we like or don’t like but what we need. You may be the type of person who needs more sleep than others to function well, listen to your body – it knows. Having been pregnant I realised that this was the first time in my life that I actually noticed the clear signals and language my body directed at me- I craved certain things because my body (and child) needed them to feel better or to achieve a balance of necessary vitamins or minerals. Once your start to hear your inner voice it becomes clearer and clearer as to what your body and mind need to be able to feel right. Each element being as important as the next as when combined it will deliver that homeostasis we are all reaching for.
So next time you head for the gym, or the yoga class or take a long walk or run ask yourself those all important questions…how am I? How do I feel? Tune in to your body’s voice and rhythm and see where your daily routine ends up taking you; hopefully step by step towards wellness and happiness.
Online courses in Exercise for Health & Wellness
We offer a diploma-correspondent course in Exercise for Health & Wellness which entitles you to teach anywhere in the world. You could also try our Sports and Exercise Nutrition course, or our Sports Psychology & Dynamics course – both are the perfect complimentary qualification for any holistic practice. If you are also thinking about getting serious with your stretching habitats you can try our Yoga course. Whatever you choose here with us at The School of Natural Health Sciences, you can be sure that your CV, spectrum of knowledge, and outlook on life will be forever enriched.
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