My name is Anna and I have a confession to make.
I’m not always in love with the idea of exercise. Exercise seems like too much effort, too much pressure, too much of a commitment. As a Mum, there is usually something else that I can prioritise higher than exercise. As somebody who struggles with low mood, there are days when even the start line seems out of reach.
I like to move my body. When I move my body, I feel good!
I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and they have mostly involved a shift in mindset about what exercise is. I know to some folk some of these may seem a bit flaky, or not intense enough. But, there is a thin end to every wedge…! Move a little and I guarantee you will feel inspired to move even more. Maybe even… shhhh…. exercise!!
1. I’ve already touched on this, but I think of it as moving my body! Doing what my body was built for. Exercise maybe reminds you of school cross country, or is something that other people do. On the telly. And are so brilliant at it they make living from it and what’s the point of you ever trying because right now walking up the stairs makes you a bit puffed? But we can all walk, stretch, breathe deeply. Start small and congratulate yourself for not doing nothing.
2. I like to imagine the muscles flexing and the heart and lungs adjusting without my saying so. I like to marvel at the physiology of me. This might not work for everybody – if you are not a physiology geek, for example. But give it a go. Get on the internet (or ask the nearest school-age child!) and learn a bit of basic biology about your body, and start to appreciate what an amazing bit of basic kit you have been blessed with – imperfections and all.
3. When I’m tired, I move my body while lying down. On a yoga mat. With a pillow. I hug my knees to my chest, I rock, I stretch my body out long on the mat. It’s nothing fancy. You couldn’t even classify it as yoga or pilates. If its the evening, I might even be in my pyjamas and have a glass of wine on the go. But I get up from the mat with a psychological advantage, that I did something to honour my body. It was a treat. I was good to myself. After stretching and moving little, I might find I can do a bit more, or go for a walk.
4. Leave your bag at home. When you step out of the door for a walk, just take the essentials. Head in the opposite direction of shops and cafes, and towards the trees and fields instead. Imagine you are on holiday and you are off for an explore or the local area. I have discovered some lovely spots very close to home that I never knew about until I began walking instead of cycling or driving. The walk becomes not about exercise, but about visiting those places, going to have a look and see what has changed or grown.
5. Don’t limit yourself. I used to think that if I had had a busy / active morning, I wasn’t allowed to do anything else the same night – I had to save it for another day. I know. Weird eh? But ask yourself if there are quirky ways that you might be limiting yourself too. Challenge yourself to THINK differently about movement. Think differently about your body.