1. Change your language, change your mindset. Did you see "workout" in my title? It is kind of a joke, because I hardly say "work out" or "exercise" anymore. And I definitely never say "work off" in regards to movement after eating food. Our language about movement can reflect a punishing response to ourselves and our bodies. Moving should be joyful and not dutiful. When we reframe why we exercise and the way we speak about it, we nourish a healthier relationship with our bodies.
2. Lose the numbers, lose the rigidity. It was super uncomfortable to start running and walking without using an app. Not using a timer or keeping track of my minutes made me question whether or not something "counted." What a way to spoil the enjoyment of being in my body! When we get sidetracked by apps and time spent, we are disconnecting ourselves from the experience of being present and paying attention to the way we feel. Explore what it feels like to move without set numbers or rules. You'll be amazed how liberating it will feel.
3. Rest and practice listening to your body. I can't count the number of times I have made myself work out when I really wanted to rest or do something else. To think of all the times I ignored my body's signals! When you are really tired or dreading your workout, your body is telling you it needs something else! Listen to it and trust that you'll feel like moving when you're ready. Rest is just as beneficial as moving.
4. Find your favorite ways to move. I used to be in constant search of burning maximum calories and "training" all the parts of my body. But I ended up hating exercise due to over-exercise and overuse injuries. Now I do things I actually like, like yoga, barre, running, and walking. But I do the occasional interval training or whatever I feel like. Don't lock yourself into something because you once told yourself you should. Think back to movement you liked as a child, or try an activity you feel drawn to. Keep trying new things until you find something that speaks to you. I have heard many times that someone has tried something once and didn't like it, so they moved on and never looked back. Keep in mind that different instructors or styles of movement can be completely different from each other.
5. Embrace natural, daily movement. Don't underestimate the movement you do every day. Taking the stairs, playing with your kids or pets, or walking to a destination is all movement. It doesn't need to look any one way to serve your mind and your body well. Get curious about what you already do and what you already enjoy - and trust the process of finding the right amount of movement for your life.
What are your favorite ways to move? What questions do you have about non-legalistic movement and cultivating a healthier relationship with moving your body?