I think by now, we’ve all heard how great exercise is for total mind and body connection. You’ve maybe even heard of exercise, or movement, being called a form of self-care.
Some of us picture exercise as a form of torture, rather than self-care. I totally get it. I’ve been there too, trust me.
Whether you come from a restrictive background, disordered eating, excessive exercising or you just don’t think of yourself as a sporty or active person – I want to encourage you to practice gentle movement this year and see what it does for you.
Hear me out. We know exercise releases endorphins that boost our mood. Sounds like a perfect form of self-care to me! We just have to figure out what type of movement you enjoy and will look forward to doing!
Once you get started and make it a normal part of your day, you should easily be able to feel a difference in your mental state. You should feel happier, lighter, have more clarity, and have more energy!
Regardless of what you choose to do, make sure you try different things to find the ones you truly enjoy – that’s the key to making exercise a form of self-care.
Let’s talk about some different ideas you can try to implement movement into your daily life.
As my OG readers and friends know, I’m a nature-enthusiast. I love nature, and just being in the sun for a few minutes every day helps me immensely. If you’re like me in that way, then you may find doing outdoor exercises to be the best fit for you.
Do you enjoy walking and slower-paced, lower-intensity cardio exercises? Try exploring around your neighborhood on foot or go to a local trail nearby – this is a great place to start your self-care and exercise journey.
I try to go for a 10-15 minute walk outside every day with my dog on my lunch break. He loves it, and it brightens my mood in the winter months especially because it gets dark so early in the evenings.
Being outside is already a form of self-care, so this is like a two-for-one activity – exercise and outdoors!
Many of the rest of the activities in this post can be done outside – so feel free to get creative!
Maybe you just want to cut out the long workouts or you aren’t a fan of lower-intensity activities like walking because you think they’re boring or take too much time.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) may be the perfect fit for you. PS – You can also do this in the gym, at home, or outdoors! The majority of HIIT workouts don’t require any equipment and can be done in any open space.
If you want to learn more about HIIT workouts, check out this blog for 5 beginner HIIT exercises. HIIT exercises are known for being quick, but challenging. If this sounds like you, be sure to give it a try!
You may also enjoy doing something more relaxing and stretch-based, like yoga. Here are some great YouTube channels for beginner yogis!
I find yoga to be so relaxing, while still being challenging, and it’s paired perfectly with calm music playing in the background.
I’m thinking of doing a blog post about trying yoga everyday for a week – let me know if you think I should!
At-Home Equipment Exercises
Recently, I’ve moved a stationary bike into my room/office at home, and so far (once I get past the my-butt-hurts-stage) I really like it!
Working from home, I don’t move nearly as much as I should. Like, it’s really bad some days! So, having the bike in here is nice because I can take breaks, hop on the bike for 15 minutes or so, and get some activity in!
If you’re someone who enjoys solo workouts, cardio machines, or weight-lifting – or if you just want to get into the gym to start training – then the gym may be the perfect place for you to practice some self-care through movement.
There are so many gyms to choose from, so start by looking at reviews online and asking friends and family where they go. If you live in an apartment, you may have a gym that you can go to for free. There are also community centers with gyms in many towns, so be sure to research the area around you.
Hitting up the gym is one of my favorite ways to work out because there are so many different things you can do – it makes it easy to switch things up, and you’ll avoid burnout if you switch things up frequently.
Group fitness is something I enjoyed greatly pre-covid. Fortunately, if you’re comfortable, some gyms are beginning to offer classes again with safety measures.
With group fitness, it feels like you’re extra-motivated to complete your work out because a) you have an instructor encouraging and directing you, and b) you have peers surrounding you that are enduring the same work out.
There are a ton of different types of group fitness classes – cardio, dance, kick-boxing, and weight-lifting to name a few! You’re sure to find something you enjoy.
It’s also nice to have a specific class at a specific time – it’s easy, there’s no thinking involved. You just go, get your work out in, and then enjoy the rest of your day!
Check out the local gyms near you to see what classes they offer or go online to look for different places that specialize in group fitness to get started.
You can also try online group classes and check out YouTube for different workouts.
Add Movement to your Self-Care Routine
If you’re feeling super ambitious and want to get your self-care routine started early in the day, then you can try working out early in the morning to start your day off.
As painful as it is sometimes for me to wake up early at first, it’s always so worth it. I feel accomplished, energized, and ready to start the day off with a positive outlook.
No matter what you take from this blog, always remember that being able to exercise and practice gentle movement is a privilege. Having the ability to do these things with and for your body is something you should never take for granted.
Love your body and take care of your mind and spirit always.
What is your favorite form of movement? When did you discover it? Leave me a comment below or DM me on Instagram @selflovescript.