I am feeling inundated with advice about exercising this month. Everywhere I look there is something about what I, the reader, the listener, the watcher needs to do …
-Always exercise on Monday.
-Exercise in the morning.
-Absolutely do not miss more than a day of exercise.
-Exercise 3 days each week.
-Wear your exercise clothes in the morning as a reminder (under my clothes or over my clothes?).
-Exercise at least once during the week in a way that you don’t sweat.
-Use music or television or reading to distract you and make the time pass more quickly.
Really? Who says so?
Since my professional mission is to facilitate my clients’ intimate and unique relationships with their bodies this advice rhetoric is rather disheartening.
When my son was a small boy he began to voice his presence in the world in a very memorable manner. I remember approaching him to change his diaper and he shouted at me, “No, I am the boss of my body.”
What if each of us experienced a felt sense of living as the boss of our bodies. What would that mean? Perhaps feeling clear and strong and sure of what you and your body needs and wants. Regarding exercise, what really turns you on? Do you like to run or walk? On a track, in nature, in the city? Solo or with a friend or pet? Do you like group fitness? Dancing? Step? Do you like cycling; inside or outside? Maybe you like to swim.
And then take it to another level. Your emotional body may love step classes while your physical body may have issues or soreness that make that form of exercise unhealthy, or intolerable, or just plain painful. I invite you to honor the experiences of your body and learn what feeds you, ignites you, and supports your health.
Robin Okun, LMSW, is a certified Nia Instructor, Movement Therapist, Center for Eating Disorders, Director of Mindful Movement Studio, Ann Arbor, MI, 734-395-2624, firstname.lastname@example.org