Exercise doesn’t have to be about losing weight. It doesn’t have to be a punishment or something on your “should-do” list. On Friday I talked about how exercise can be whatever you want it to be. It can include whatever physical activities actually support you and honor your body and make you feel the way you want to feel.
When I think of exercise, I simply think of different ways to move my body or different physical activities I can engage in — of which there are countless options. If the word “exercise” makes you think of painfully pounding the pavement (or other forms of pain or punishment), then use the words “movement” or “physical activities.” Or invent your own term.
Here are questions to help you figure out what physical activities you’d like to add to your days. Maybe these questions will even spark additional questions for you.
- Which physical activities don’t feel like “work”?
- What kind of fall activities are fun to you? This might be anything from apple and pumpkin picking to hiking and biking.
- Which activities make you feel alive?
- What activities, if you weren’t able to practice them, would you miss?
- What activities bring you calm and inner peace?
- What activities, if any, help you sleep better?
- When you think of exercise or movement, what words come to mind?
- When you think of exercise or movement, what words do you want to come to mind?
- What activities might fulfill those words?
- What new activities would you like to try?
- What energizes or refreshes you?
- What activities have you always wanted to try but haven’t? Why? What’s stopping you?
- How can you try one of these activities this week?
- What activities feel like self-care, like you’re taking compassionate, sweet care of yourself?
- When you get quiet and still, take several slow breaths and tune into your body, what movement is it really craving?
- What activities make you feel like you’re leading a fuller life?
- What activities brighten your day?
- What just feels really good?
The physical activities you pick can be anything from practicing yoga to playing with your kids to taking fitness classes to walking to dancing to swimming to surfing to playing sports to hula-hooping. You might engage in an array of activities or pick a few favorites to focus on. You might experiment with a new type of movement, such as tai chi or ballroom dancing.
Remember that how you move your body is up to you. You might want to move in ways that calm and/or energize you. In ways that challenge and empower you. In ways that feel like play. Either way, it’s totally up to you.
P.S., You’ll find more questions to consider in this post.