The New Year is often the time when we reset and refocus on our health and wellbeing. Movement and exercise is a fundamental part of wellbeing and the key to this is getting exercise into your routine. If you want to get more movement in your life this New Year I have these 5 tips to ensure your enthusiasm doesn’t lead you to injury or defeat.
- Start SMALL
Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean 1hour of pumping iron at the gym, or a gruelling run. You can start with small bite sized movement routines that seduce your body (and mind) into enjoying movement. The important thing is to start! And starting small is always easier than starting big. What is the easiest form of movement for you to start? Is it walking around the block? Is it rolling your spine on the floor and taking a stretch? Is it skipping with a rope? Is it dancing to your favourite song? Choose something that sparks a little joy and go and do it. You can choose a different starter everyday, you can do as little or as much of it as you like. Just find a start that moves you, no matter how small.
2. Go slow / LISTEN
Getting back into exercise involves getting back into relationship with your body. Like an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, reconnecting takes a bit of listening. In your enthusiasm to get fit remember to leave space to listen to what your body is saying and sometimes this means re-learning her language. This means staying connected to your body as you challenge her, listening to her feedback, enjoying her efforts, accepting her limits. Take this process slowly and you will be able to build the intensity without getting an injury.
3. Be regular – frequency is everything
Move everyday, yes everyday. You don’t have to do a major work out everyday but some time for conscious movement is a basic requirement for health and wellbeing. Employ some of the ideas from ‘START small’ everyday. It is easier to stick to something if you do it everyday. If you only plan to exercise 3 days a week it is easy to postpone or put off until tomorrow. If your commitment is to move everyday you have less wriggle room and when it comes to exercise regularity is everything.
4. Seek pleasure
When it comes to movement, be a pleasure seeker. If a movement feels satisfying do it more. If a movement feels wobbly, tense or jerky don’t do it again or find a way to do it that brings you more glide and stability. This is one of the true gifts of Pilates. Listening to the feedback of your body, bringing your conscious awareness more deeply into the movement to find the pleasure, the connectedness, to find your breath. This is an endless process that can be applied to any sport, exercise or movement practice and it is essential to remaining injury free.
5. Seek guidance and community
To foster the awareness I am taking about in the tips above it really helps to have a guide on the journey. A teacher or coach that helps to hold the space for you to progress in the relationship with your body can be a great help. Finding someone that sets the right pace and the appropriate level of challenge is important. Joining with a guide and with others who are also seeking connection with their bodies can help encourage accountability; it can bring social benefits and can boost your learning as you learn alongside others. It can also make it a lot of fun!
Movement and exercise are so important for health and wellbeing. I am so excited that you want more of it in your life. I want you to succeed! In my view the more people that move in a self-loving and nurturing way the happier, less stressed and less consumerist the world will be. I hope you will try some of these ideas and I want to hear how you go. Please comment and ask questions and let me walk beside you on your journey to a movement rich life.
Brigid Pearse is a Pilates and Movement teacher in Byron Bay, Ballina and Newrybar offering all levels Pilates mat classes at carefully selected halls and equipment classes in her home studio in Lennox Head.