Movement. Exercise. Fitness. It's something many of us feel obligated to do but often find ourselves ignoring it. We have negative feelings surrounding this topic. And if we ignore it, we feel guilty. We don't feel good about ourselves for neglecting our fitness!
I'm here to tell you today that you no longer need to feel guilty or have these negative feelings surrounding exercise. I'll share with you how you can have a much more positive relationship with movement. Replacing these 4 common myths with these 4 Truths will change your beliefs about exercise and get rid of the guilt.
Myth #1: It's essential to exercise to lose weight
This is hogwash. And I can tell you from many direct, personal observations.
Back when I owned the CrossFit gym for 7.5 years with my husband, I worked with thousands of clients over the years. And let me tell you this with absolute certainty: There were many people who worked their asses off and were AMAZING athletes. Strong, agile, and fast. BUT if their food choices were junk, they kept their spare tire. Their belly went nowhere. The extra weight NEVER left.
On the other hand, if an individual made just one positive change to their food, THAT'S when they saw results! And the ones that completely transformed their eating habits, they were the ones that transformed themselves.
The ones who continued to drink beer, eat dairy and refined foods never lost weight. They got stronger, they improved their fitness, but they never lost weight and they never saw significant body composition changes. I saw this pattern time and time again.
You don't need to exercise your ass off to lose weight. You need to adjust what goes in your mouth and focus on cleaning up the liver so that it can do it's job to clear out the crap causing you to retain water weight and put on fat easily.
Myth #2: Yoga isn't "exercise" or a "workout"
There is some truth to this. Because there are different types of yoga and various teaching styles, yoga is an extremely versatile practice. So, yoga is exercise and isn't exercise... but it's always MOVEMENT. And movement is always good.
The easiest way to see yoga's versatility is to explore an online program under a free trial (or if you're an extrovert you may feel more comfortable going to your local yoga joint and trying various classes). You'll find meditation classes, yin yoga classes, and recovery classes that focus on going inward and delegating soft, healing intention to one particular area at a time. These will fill you up when you are feeling empty, tired, and sore.
Then, you'll find classes that focus on stability and skill while simultaneously focusing on lengthening and opening. THIS is where yoga IS, in fact, what we would consider a "workout." My favorite for this is "Vinyasa Flow."
The greatest thing about yoga is you can choose the intensity for that day. If you're feeling strong, you can attend a class that is going to get your fire going. Alternately, if you're tired, you can choose a comforting yin or recovery style class.
Yoga is a wonderful tool to get more movement, flexibility, strength, and skill into your life.
Myth #3: Thinking you must be doing a formal fitness program to get started or to see results.
Movement is movement! You don't need to join a gym. You don't need to buy videos. You don't need to formally sign up for any type of program. All you need is to move.
If you wake up one day and think, "Man, I would really like to move around today." Do it. Don't put it off because you haven't signed up at a gym yet, or gotten a trainer, or bought the one piece of equipment for the one activity you told yourself you were going to do.
Are formal programs helpful? Abso-friggin-lutely! Especially when it comes to knowing how to move properly because injury is very possible when moving incorrectly (especially under load using weights). So, if you have never had any formal training, I highly recommend it, at least in the short term.
Alternatively, there are so many wonderful online videos and programs to follow. Then, once you know what you're doing, you can do more on your own (if you're self-motivated).
If motivation is your problem- especially when it comes to formal fitness and exercise programs- you'll want to find something you enjoy doing. The bottom line here is you will not continue with it if you do not enjoy it!
Myth #4: I need to exercise to stay healthy.
I'm going to emphasize this again: what you put in your mouth is more important when it comes to health and longevity, got it? Another important point is "exercise" per se is not necessary for people in all stages, but "movement" is. (More on this below)
Stretch. Walk in nature. Go up and down a flight of stairs a few times. Ride a bike. Learn Qigong (I can teach you!). Do yoga. Dance. Swim. Jump on a rebounder. There are so many options to get moving that are not formal exercise or fitness regimens.
Movement is essential for health because it gets our blood moving. It gets our lymph flowing. This oxygenation from increased blood flow and movement of lymph and tissue is going to clear our body of toxins. It's going to bring more oxygen to stagnant areas. It's going to improve our energy, lubricate our joints, and bring heat and movement to our muscles and connective tissue.
This is how movement adds to longevity. It can be a formal exercise regimen if that's your cup of tea, but it most certainly does not have to be.
An important note on Where you are now & Movement
If you are working through some type of chronic illness, and are especially low on energy, take this clue from your body. Right now, all your energy reserves are going towards healing this issue. This is the wrong time to move with intensity. Choose gentle activities and soft movement and you'll feel so much better, and possibly invigorated.
If you're someone who has trouble getting out of bed due to neurological fatigue (this is a deep, deep, feeling of fatigue where lifting a limb is hard work) then just start there. Lay on your back and bicycle your legs. Move your arms in big circles and little circles... things like that.
Let go of your expectations on what exercise is and just add movement to your life!
There is no need to feel guilty about not exercising. Take one day at a time. Find activities to increase your movement and activities that you look forward to doing. This way, you'll stick with it, you'll gain confidence and rid yourself of the negative beliefs you have around exercise.
To your health and healing,