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Forget everything you know about exercise and move for fun

So, you know all about why you should exercise and keep fit. You have endless information telling you how to tone up or lose weight, but what if exercise was about more than looking good? While your mind is telling you why you should exercise and your brain is making excuses about why you can’t, your body is simply calling out to be acknowledged.

Woman rock climbing

Photo credit: Hero Images/Getty Images

The barrage of reasons to exercise include losing weight, looking good and toning up. The messages about exercise are mainly that, while it’s not fun, it has to be done, so try out the latest routine or regimen. It has even become fashionable for exercise to be a punishing endeavour with the onset of boot camps and other such military-style workouts. Changing your mindset and turning body movement into a fun and enjoyable part of your life could change your relationship with yourself. Try some of these ideas to find what brings your body joy and uplifts your life.

Stop the inner critic drama

You know your inner critic pretty well, the one that glances at yourself in a mirror and picks the first thing possible to judge and belittle? Well, it’s time to put her to rest. Your thoughts are a choice, and the less you choose to buy into the critical thoughts, the more you will start to love your body. When you notice your inner critic starting to beat you up, just quietly thank her for trying to help you and tell her that you don’t actually need her anymore. Over time, she will begin to listen and her voice will quieten down.

Dance like nobody’s watching

Dancing is one way that I help my clients to get back in touch with their bodies. In our busy world, so much is focused on the mind and brain, that sometimes people forget that they even have a body. Workouts become a time to make lists in your head or think about the day ahead, rather than being present to yourself. So I tell my clients to go home, find a private space, put on their favourite music and shake their booty. Dancing frees up the mind, invigorates the body and gets the blood flowing. Don’t think about what you look like, or whether you are dancing “correctly”, just lose yourself in the music and be present in your body.

How to dance your way to fitness >>

Find something you love to do

Stop thinking about exercise as a way to burn calories or about the parts of your body you want to change, but instead find something that feels good to you. Rather than timing yourself or scheduling in exercise, think about what kind of movement might become a hobby. So often, an exercise regimen includes activities set out with very particular goals, and this takes all the fun away. Think about things you used to love to do as a child and see how you can take up those behaviours once again. Some ideas include:

  • Take up a dance class. Perhaps you loved ballet as a child? Find an adult ballet class and take it up once again.
  • If you loved team sports, such as netball or hockey, find your local team and participate.
  • If you loved gymnastics, why not try a yoga class to stretch out and get that muscle memory flowing again?
  • Did you love to climb trees when you were little? Indoor rock climbing is a great way to revive your little climber and to have fun.

Read more on the benefits of yoga >>

Whatever you choose to participate in, make sure that it is something you love and that brings you joy. Changing your mindset around exercise could make a big difference to the way you see your body and how you want to move. Stop seeing exercise as a chore and move for the love of moving and because you understand that we are biologically evolved to do so. Whether you want to dance or run, do something that makes you feel good and uplifted. And, please, whatever you do, embrace your body.

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