How Not To Move For Enjoyment
I got my first gym membership when I was 20 years old and living in Australia. Struggling with disordered eating patterns, I decided that the only way I could continue to eat chocolate for dinner was to join the gym.
This definitely had pros and cons. I started attending my first yoga and body balance classes at that gym, which helped me with my mental and emotional health. It was there that I realised that not all exercise had to be exhausting and physically challenging – and that I could actually move for enjoyment.
However, it also taught me that the ‘punishment’ for eating chocolate for dinner was to run for an hour on the treadmill. And I hated that treadmill. I’ve always had huge respect for avid runners, mostly because I really hate running! Running inside, on the spot, on a machine was, to me at least, the most boring and torturous thing I could have found to spend an hour.
Before I go any further, I think it’s crucial to point out that exercise should not be a punishment for eating chocolate, or anything else. I am not an advocate of working out with the sole objective of losing weight. Exercise should be about moving your body in a way that you enjoy to feel good.
Move for Enjoyment
Once back on British soil, I continued my
love/hate relationship with running for a couple of years. I also picked up my love affair with classes again. By making it a challenge and adventure, I was able to find new classes and movement opportunities from a place of fun. I tried different styles of yoga, pole dancing, Zumba, horse riding, belly dancing, step aerobics, pilates – I loved it all.
Over time, I slowly came to realise that cardio wasn’t my bag. Although I know it is for a lot of people – and a lot of my friends love running, swimming etc – I just didn’t enjoy it. Over time I narrowed down my main passions, and also found that going to the gym did not have to mean cardio – when I go, I spend most of my time in the free weights section.
And that is what I want my message today to be: move your body in a way that you enjoy. Simply move for enjoyment. It shouldn’t be about losing calories or decreasing your body fat percentage. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing then it will feel feel like a chore and you won’t stick at it.
A challenge for you
If you feel like you don’t know where to start with finding a movement practice, don’t worry. Pick a few ideas from the list below and find a local class. You have nothing to lose from trying each one just once! Life is about exploration and adventure, so have fun with it.
The options are endless but here’s some inspiration. And if you’re really stuck, think back to when you were a kid and what you loved doing then, and honour that.
Yoga, zumba, HIIT, gymnastics, circus training, Pilates, pole dancing, spin, gym-based classes (eg Body Pump), belly dancing, aerobics, step, martial arts, boxing/boxercise, acroyoga, Barre, aerial, hoop, Latin dancing (Tango, Salsa etc)
Weight lifting, cardio, strength training, Olympic weight lifting, cycling, gymnastics, fitness classes (Body Pump etc)
Yoga (I have videos on my YoutubeChannel!), Pilates, dancing in your living room with all the curtains closed, bodyweight training
Power walking, horse riding, running, cycling, rollerblading, hiking, surfing, rock climbing, snowboarding, skiing, triathlons, skateboarding, parkour
Basketball, netball, football, volleyball, swimming, roller derby, hockey
Going out and dancing all night, swimming
I would love to hear from you –
Anything I’ve missed off the list? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll add it.
Feeling stuck? Leave a comment or send me an email. I love movement, and I would love to help you and give you sone advice.
Interested in yoga but don’t know where to start? Check out my private yoga classes here.