I came across a post on Instagram (see pictures below), and it's really resonating with me as I try to be more compassionate toward myself. I've been really hard on myself through the pandemic and now when I'm not "exercising", but I've been defining exercise as a spin class, a run, a power yoga class, traditional strength training etc. But it hasn't been as joyful for me as it used to be.
However, the images below from the instagram post gave me pause, what if we count exercise as moving your body in a way that feels good instead of a way that checks something off your "health to-do list"? It's not revolutionary and it's been said before, but I love this framing.
I'm writing this post to hold myself accountable to spend more time in my garden and walking with friends (and maybe some dancing per @Margie 's suggestion of solo-dance party breaks), counting those as exercise and not feeling guilty when I skip an online fitness class to do something I love instead! Plus, does this mean we may actually be moving more than the standard 30-mins X amount of times per week?
Who's going to join me? Would love to read about everyone's definition of "exercise" and something they love to do so that we can inspire each other!
Totally agree! I've been feeling this for many years, and it just seems amplified by the pandemic. I've committed to 30 minutes of restorative yoga every day for a month. A little bit of an experiment to see if I can actually feel any difference (my hypothesis is I will!) Carving out time that is separate (and sometimes replacing) the typical spin/power yoga/weights routine.
I'm only a week in, but so far, I feel like the 30 minutes of yin/restorative yoga each day has felt truly like a gift to myself. And while I may not have the adrenaline high that I get from cardio, I do feel just as accomplished and good about moving my body as I do from a more strenuous schedule!
A day at the beach is one of my favorite ways when reframing exercise: walking along the beach, swimming, and playing around with family and friends ☀️
@Dani_P I'm sure you get a lot of beach days! How do you redefine exercise? I think the chart includes so many great everyday things we can do to get a little exercise in.
@Elua1953 I LOVE talking about this topic!! I actually made a couple Instagram reels on this because people often get so caught up in the counted numbers (to an unhealthy extent sometimes) that they forget about how beneficial and meaningful simple movement can be. From a health standpoint, these are absolutely countable towards your exercise minutes during the week. Heck, I mean gardening is tough! But I found that labeling my workouts as hiit/circuits/anything that LOOKED like exercise or happened in a gym limited my joy for movement and hindered my progress in happiness. This mentality is one that was stuck with me pre-PT years.. but now I know better and it is so much better. Also, there's an area of research that looks into exercise in "greenspace," basically getting outdoors which is really cool with tons of benefits!
I do most of my exercise outdoors, in all weather. Cycling, hiking, Nordic skiing, snow shoeing. I continue to do boot camp twice a week, virtually, but I am much happier than when I was a gym rat years ago (I was a group ex instructor for 10 years, in my younger days). What's changed for me since I retired 2 years ago is that I do a lot more walking and yoga. I've always liked to walk and yoga used to be the thing that got cut from my schedule in the past. Sometimes I even "exercise" twice a day, but the 2nd thing is usually one of the above. I can share the walking with most people in my life, so that is a benefit. I don't like gardening, dancing, or swimming, so walking and yoga, as well as being active with my granddaughter (who is on her way to being quite a hiker) count as my active rest days.
Walking the dog is absolutely exercise! Also, I live in a townhouse with four floors, so I welcome any chance to run up and down the stairs during the day - my watch says I average 22 flights per day! I do Pilates as well, and though my 20 some thing daughter rolls her eyes about whether that qualifies as exercise, my arms are definitely getting more sculpted, as are my abs.
Anything in and around the mountains is exercise for me, it is so good for the spirit and the body Hiking, paddleboarding, camping, and swimming in the summer months and skiing, snow shoeing and sometimes x-country skiing in the winter months round out my exercise routine. "The mountains are calling and I must go!"
@Elua1953 thank you so much for sharing this question! Exercise IS moving your body. I'm not sure when and where that concept got lost within the Health and Wellness industry, but I'm so glad you found it and I hope others will, as well.
ANY activity that requires physical effort IS exercise. That is LITERALLY the definition! And honestly, after the Covid lockdown, I think we're ALL in the same boat of having to "re-assess" and accept that some of the activities that used to work for us, are not serving us anymore. And that's OK! 🙌
One of the ways I move my body is to play to my passions and interests. I LOVE to explore new places, neighborhoods, libraries, parks, bookstores and museums, so I will set aside time to work in these places at least 3-4 times a week. Just pack up my laptop and go! I then take breaks walking around looking at all the sites. I'll hop on the phone with a family member or friend, and before I know I've walked 4 miles by 12pm. Redefine exercise to ANY experience where you are moving your body, and find simple and creative ways to incorporate those activities into things you're already doing.
Another simple tip is to park a few parking lots away, or get off of the bus a few stops prior to your stop and walk to your destination. Good luck on your journey to finding what works best for YOU! 😊