The recommendation to exercise is everywhere and seemingly good for every ailment. But it’s easy to let those recommendations or the desire to be fit override your body’s wisdom and start to foster a relationship between you and your body that is more master and servant than kind, balanced and reciprocal friendship.
I talk to my patients a lot about beginning to see their body as a partner. If you were to look at your body that way, how would it change your behavior when it comes to movement? Would you demand of your best friend that they go to the gym every single day, even when they’re dead tired, or injured? Probably not.
With this shift in perspective, you can start to vary your movement according to what your body, mind and emotions need that day. This is likely to be different if you are grieving, if you have a cold, if you’re feeling anxious, if you’re excited and energized, if you’re feeling contemplative or if you’re on your period. Even if you planned a run, perhaps 20 minutes of stretching and 20 minutes of walking would feel better this time. If you planned on yoga, maybe high intensity interval training resonates more that day.
A lot of people seem to fear that if they start listening to their body’s cues, they’ll just stay on the couch all day every day. But consider this: if you listen, perhaps your body will tell you that it wants more movement than you’ve been engaging in. And possibly a different variety. Listening this way will reduce your chance of injury because you will stop when it’s time to stop. And if you rest when you need rest, maybe you’ll recover faster and reach new heights of energy and vigor in later workouts.
Wishing you a joyful summer,