How to have a healthy relationship with exercise

How to have a healthy relationship with exercise

Do you feel like you have a good relationship with exercise? Or is it something that you do just because you want to lose weight?

I host a podcast, Health, My Friend, and two weeks ago I did an episode on exercise and our relationship with it. The title is Exercise: How to Listen to Your Body. If you struggle with having a strict routine when it comes to exercise or having no routine at all, this podcast episode is for you. This episode is also for you if you have a hard time listening to your body when it comes to exercise. For example, do you always feel tired and like you don’t want to workout, do you always workout even when you are tired, or do you always do the same type of workout? All of these are examples of having an unhealthier relationship with exercise and having a hard time listening to what our bodies want and need. It is really important to have a healthy relationship with exercise AND to have a healthy relationship with our bodies. Unfortunately, our culture sometimes does not push the healthiest view of these things.

Read about the many benefits of exercise

Do you feel like you use exercise just because you want to lose weight or look a certain way? It is OKAY to exercise in order to improve your weight and improve your body composition/the way you look, but it is NOT healthy to create a habit of using exercise just for those things. Exercise should be something that you do because of how it makes you feel, not because of how it makes you look. Exercise and movement is a beautiful part of life. If you are healthy and capable of movement, you SHOULD move! But you should move in a way that feels healthy and healing and helpful for YOU.

Read about why exercise is better for you than medications when suffering from depression or anxiety

This can look different for every single person, and it can also look different every single day. For example, right now I am following a training program for running. My husband and I are doing it together, and it’s 5-6 runs a week. Sunday we were supposed to run four and a half miles. I was sore Sunday morning and I was also feeling the need for time to do other things before a new week started. I expressed that to my husband, he was feeling similarly, and we decided to go on a walk and do other things instead. If I had been so focused on following a plan and being strict with movement and not using exercise for ME but for a goal instead, I probably would have forced myself to run the four and a half miles and I would not have gotten the other things that made me feel so refreshed that day. Do you see the difference? If I had been focused on the plan and the training and the goal, I would have missed out on listening to my body and doing what I needed mentally and physically.

Release anxiety with exercise

Now the flip side of this can be overthinking it and never moving because you always feel sore, tired, worn out, etc. If this is what you struggle with, I encourage you to START. On the days when you are tired and sore and don’t have motivation to do anything, start your workout and stick with it for 5-10 minutes. If you are feeling good and it’s helping, keep going. If your body is screaming for rest, stop! Motivation is created by movement, so sometimes we can’t base our actions off of our feelings. This is when it’s helpful to start, see how you’re feeling, and make a decision from there. This is also a good time to listen to what your body needs. Maybe you don’t have enough energy for running or weight lifting, but you feel like yoga or a walk would feel good. Do what feels best for YOUR body.

I want you to build a healthy relationship with your body so that you can listen to it and be aware of it, and ALSO build a healthy relationship with exercise so that you can utilize it in order to feel your best. If you need help with this, I am in your corner!

A podcaster, wife, health/wellness coach, beach lover, and musician. She specialises in nutrition education, meal planning, and developing sustainable habits. She passionately works with her patients to help them build healthier and happier relationships with food, exercise, and themselves.

Click here to follow Abby & her work

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