Last week, I heard my body asking for something she hadn’t asked for in a long time: to go for a run.
I legitimately thought the signals were getting crossed somewhere. I haven’t wanted to run in a reallllly long time. I think on some level I assumed I probably never would again.
You know what they say about assuming… 😉
Yesterday, after spending an entire day in the car, I felt my body demanding I go for a run. I was craving fresh air, movement, and the burn in my lungs.
So, this morning, I set aside time from 8:30 – 9:15 to move my body. I gave myself options. If Osh was up from his nap, I could go for a run, go for a walk, or do some combo of both. If he was still sleeping and I was “landlocked,” I gave myself the option to dance to music, do an at-home circuit, or move on my yoga mat.
Osh woke up from his AM nap at 8:15 (yes… when you wake up for the day at 3:30 in the morning, your morning nap ends at 8:15) and we hit the road!
Turns out… my body really did want to run. I ran the whole time, giving myself full permission to walk if that ever sounded better.
I have no clue if I will run again this week, this month, or ever again. All I know is that today my body really wanted to run and so I did!
I hear from a lot of women that they feel their body craving more movement or “asking for a run” but they aren’t sure how to go about that without getting obsessive.
I HEAR THAT.
I spent years being obsessive about exercise. There was a time in my life where I couldn’t imagine running less than 6 days a week. There was a time where I fractured my ankle running a marathon and then forced myself to exercise in my boot on an elliptical until I burned as many calories as I would have on a run. There was a time where I would have called in sick to work just to fit in a workout because the guilt of skipping a workout would have been too much to handle.
But, overtime (yes, it took some time!) I shifted my relationship with exercise from obsessive to easy and fun. I traded deprivation for loving discipline.
Here are a few ways I found loving discipline with movement after so much obsession:
- I make a commitment to have fun. Think about kids!!! Kids have SO MUCH FUN moving. They have so much fun that it is hard to get them to come in for dinner because they want to keep jumping or biking or running around in circles. So, I stopped doing everything that didn’t feel fun to me and experimented with new ways of moving (this is how I discovered Studio B barre, which is my favorite way to move my body today).
- I stopped “exercising” and started “moving.” I know this is just semantics, but the language we use really does matter! For me, moving rather than exercising meant that I didn’t have to think about calorie burn or the length of my workout. It was a more flexible term that gave me permission to move my body in more ways! Moving meant I could dance! I could take barre! I could go for a walk! It gave me MORE options, and therefore MORE opportunities to feel the way I wanted to feel.
- I give myself the gift of time! For me, this looks like carving out intentional time for movement (because I know my body feels so good when she moves!) and then practicing flexibility within that. Having time to move makes me feel so supported, and since there are no “rules” I don’t have to fear that time or dread it (like I used to when I knew I had to run a certain number of miles, even on days where that didn’t feel good to my body). Some days it is first thing in the morning, sometimes later in the day.
- I move in a way that works for my life rather than playing a victim of my circumstances! The truth is, I would go to barre class every single day of the week at 9 AM if I could (before Osh, this was a part of my routine most days!). But, that isn’t the reality of this season of my life. I could sit around and say “well, because I don’t get to do the thing I want to do the most I am just not going to do anything.” That attitude doesn’t serve me or what feels best to my body. Instead, I talk to myself with kind, loving words that make me feel empowered. I say things like “you feel so good when you stretch and move. You deserve to feel that way! What options do you have today to prioritize feeling good in this way?” This empowers me to move in a way that works for my life, even if it is a simple walk around the park or playing in the yard with Osh. I practice gratitude for the two days a week I get to take barre and on other days, I move in other fun ways.
- I let go of guilt! Some days (like yesterday), I barely move at all. That’s ok! I am not a good person when I move or a bad person when I don’t. Simple as that!
- I check my motivation, making the distinction between discipline and deprivation! I define the difference between discipline and deprivation as motivation. So, I check in with myself on my internal motivation: is my motivation loving? Is it to help me feel like my best self? OR, it my motivation punishing? Is it because I feel like I’m not good enough and need fixed? I talk more about this distinction here in this video, which I would encourage you to watch!
- I practice openness and flexibility. If something that worked for me in the past no longer works for me, I give myself permission to let that go and to try something new so that I can embrace what does work for the version of myself (body, life, circumstances) I am today.
I practiced all of these things when I went for my run this AM, and it was a totally different experience running today then it would have been 6, 8 or 10 years ago. I felt totally safe, because I knew I could walk or stop at any time. I felt full of gratitude, because I viewed the time to move my body as an awesome gift. I felt really loved and cared for, because I knew the choice to run came from hearing what my body needed and responding accordingly. I also felt totally FREE, because I knew that today’s run didn’t need to mean anything about tomorrow.
If you feel your body craving more movement and you’ve wondered how to honor that desire without falling into obsessive habits, do any of these practices feel helpful?
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