So, the University gym doesn’t open until 1pm on Sundays. For the most part of my time at school, I’d just wait until the gym opened before I did about half an hour to an hour of cardio.
This semester is a little different.
I decided that I’d give a local coffee shop a try (something you’ll learn about me really fast: I love coffee. Plain, lattes, mochas, you name it, I love it). Only thing is, I don’t have a car, and it was in the downtown area.
Now past me would have balked and stuck to the campus coffee shop (I can walk there) so I could get my cardio in. But current me realized that with my bike I’ve got the freedom to head off campus. So I biked for about 40 minutes to reach the coffee shop, and I loved it! Definitely going to add it into my weekly routine.
What about the gym, though?
Good question. I want you to recognize what comes to mind first at the word “exercise” or “movement”.
Did you picture going all out in a workout class, or at the gym? For a while I did too.
There was a stretch of years where I really didn’t feel accomplished if I spent a long time at the gym, burning a certain number of calories and achieving a certain level of sweatiness. If I didn’t reach this level, I’d often feel grumpy or wouldn’t acknowledge the fact that I moved at all. I would even sacrifice important healing time from illness to work out.
Over the years though, I’ve come to realize something: while movement is important to keeping us healthy, (the CDC recommends about an hour a day for teens) it doesn’t necessarily have to be the level I had been trying to force my body to perform at day in and day out.
If you’re in the place where you’re at the gym for hours a day to fit some kind of ideal, start peeling back what “head space” you’re in. Ask yourself:
- What happens if you don’t workout but instead, go for a walk with a friend, family member, dog, or a podcast you really like? (other kinds of movement can go here too: dancing, biking, gardening)
The answer is: not much!
- You’ll get movement in and you’ll get out of the house.
- You won’t be blacklisted on some kind of fitness list.
- Your joints will get a break from intense exercise and muscles will have a chance to heal.
- You’ll spend quality time with someone important to you, another key component in living a healthy lifestyle.
My challenge for you guys this week is to find ways you like to move.
Maybe you don’t exercise at all- that’s okay too! Keep in mind that a little movement is always good.
Remember: you don’t have to go to a gym to start moving and living a healthier, more active lifestyle. You can bike to your friend’s house instead of driving! Try a hike with some of your family members or with your furry friend! Give a workout DVD a shot as a break from your Netflix binge!
Side note: If you find yourself still obsessing with calories, I challenge you to take off your fitness tracker and switch displays on cardio machines (if you use them) so it won’t show calories burned. It’s something I do when I find myself becoming more focused on numbers than how I feel and I’ve found it to be really beneficial.
The main idea is that you pick up a hobby that helps you both short and long term: you get the immediate benefit of movement (mood improvements, some time outside, or even time with friends, feeling of accomplishment afterward) and the long term benefits (combating chronic disease, energy levels gradually increase, improved sleep health, making friends through a shared hobbies).
Next week on Slow Sunday I’ll write about why it’s important to not sit for long periods of time, so until then, my challenge for you is to move a little bit every day and if you can, tag me on Instagram (@centerstagenutrition) to show me your weekly movements! I’ll try and share my movements, too!
If you’re looking for some Facebook groups to help support this new habit, I really recommend Body Positive Fitness with Michele Burmaster. I’ve been a part of this group for about a year and the atmosphere is just fantastic. Michele is someone I look up to, both personally and professionally, regarding body positivity and fitness!