There is an old mentality about exercise that’s reflected in common sayings you’ve probably heard or spoken yourself, like: “No pain, no gain.” or “Whip yourself into shape.”
It’s the idea that exercise is something you have to do, or that it’s even a form of punishment for overeating.
But what if exercising and moving your body could be easy and fun, and it didn’t even require a ton of your time?
The truth about movement is that movement is life.
When you move your body, whether it’s by going for a walk, going to the gym or dancing, you’re allowing energy to flow through you, just like water moving along a beautiful, flowing river.
However, when you don’t move your body on a regular basis, it’s like a river that gets dammed up. When the water is no longer moving, it can become stagnant and even toxic.
Remember that your body is made up primarily of water! Movement circulates energy throughout your body, helping you be your healthiest and most vibrant self.
And the good news is…
There are ways to make moving your body fun, easy and enjoyable
When you were a little kid, what types of activities did you love to do?
Kids are always moving… and it’s because they love what they’re doing! They play tag or catch, climb trees, or make up silly dances. For kids, movement has an element of play, an element of fun.
Maybe when you were younger you used to play tennis or swim at your local pool. You might be surprised at how much pleasure doing these activities could bring you again!
So, what kind of movement can you start incorporating into your routine that you’d actually enjoy? What would feel the least like work to you? Generating a few ideas is the first step to having more fun and play with movement.
It doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”
Even once we know what type of movement brings us joy, we can still get stuck in an “all or nothing” exercise mentality.
We can tell ourselves “it doesn’t count” unless we push ourselves to the max or break into an intense sweat, or invest over an hour exercising.
I definitely get it. It can take a lot of time and energy to make it to the gym or to a yoga class.
Typically, you have to drive to a studio or gym, park, do the class, drive home, shower… the entire process often takes several hours!
When you have a full and busy life, oftentimes the workout you genuinely want to do is the first thing to get cut from your schedule.
I experienced this when I became a mother. As a professional dancer, I used to spend hours a day in dance classes and in the dance studio. But after having kids, especially when they were little, it was nearly impossible to dedicate time to dance!
So, I adopted a new strategy for incorporating physical activity that I like to call, “movement in minutes is better than no movement at all!”
I started investing 5-10 minutes a day moving my body in fun and playful ways. I’d dance around the house or do a few yoga poses or stretches, often times even with my baby in my arms…
And you know what? Even just a few minutes a day ended up leading to AMAZING results, not only physically, but most importantly, emotionally and spiritually.
Everyone has at least 5 minutes a day 🙂
As a professional coach helping thousands around the world, I use the 5-minute rule about movement, especially with clients who are convinced that they don’t have time to add exercise to their regular routine.
One of my clients was adamant that she didn’t have time to workout. She worked in an office and sat at her desk for 8 hours all day. Like millions of others, she relied on coffee and sugary snacks to get her through the day.
She was aware of the reality that “sitting is the new smoking,” and that a sedentary lifestyle was unhealthy for her… but she didn’t know how to change it!
So, I encouraged her to believe, “movement in minutes is better than no movement at all,” and that she really DID have at least 5 minutes a day to move her body.
After some resistance, my client started taking short, 5-minute breaks
every couple of hours throughout her work day.
She’d set an alarm to remind herself to take a short break, and then make it a point to get up, stretch a bit, walk to the bathroom, go get some water, touch her toes, and so on.
And then she started having fun with it!
She’d start playing music at her office desk and would dance around and stretch a little more until she was actually enjoying herself. After a while, her colleagues were curious and when they asked her what she was doing, they wanted to join in!
And pretty soon everyone in her entire office area started moving and dancing for 5 minutes every 2 hours! How cool is that?! The entire workplace became a happier, healthier, and more energized environment.
Soon after, she started taking walks after work, and then she started taking yoga classes. See?
Little habits go a long way in laying the groundwork for BIG life changes
Like I said… EVERYONE has at least 5 minutes a day!
Here are 3 simple and super easy steps you can take to get moving in more FUN, creative, enjoyable ways each day:
- For 5 minutes just do SOMETHING active
Walk up the stairs in your building, turn on some music (headphones if needed) and dance a little, or do some stretching. Any movement is better than none!
- Start a walking practice
Put on your walking shoes and WALK, with or without a destination in mind! Walk to your mailbox, or a coffee shop, or walk the dog. As you’re walking, breathe deeply, feel the sun (or the rain) on your body, and connect with yourself, remembering that life is truly beautiful.
- Stop, drop & roll
This is a technique I absolutely love for calming the mind and body. If you’re ever feeling a little overstimulated, or ‘triggered,’ take a moment and stop what you’re doing. Then, drop into your body and really feel your heart beating. Take a deep breath and then try to roll the stressful situation from your mind and the tension out of your body while breathing and rolling your shoulders mindfully. This helps immediately quiet the mind and de stress the body, and it feels soothing and it’s a great tool to help you “reset” yourself.
Be kind to yourself
Remember, the goal here is to enjoy moving your body! So be kind to yourself, doing any physical activity is worthwhile and life-sustaining.
Don’t pressure or force yourself into exercise, because this is not sustainable long-term and it’s certainly not fun. It’s really okay to lower your expectations of your workout and focus less on long-term progress and more on immediate enjoyment.
You absolutely can do something active that you love for just 5 minutes… and once you get going, you may even want to go longer! And of course, I encourage you to build bigger exercise goals for yourself, but keep them attainable, so you never beat yourself up if you’re not able to achieve them. Your body and spirit will thank you 🙂
If movement is already a part of your regular routine, what’s an activity that you love doing?
Or, what’s something that you will do today, even for just 5 minutes, to move your body in a more fun, playful, creative way?
Please share in the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you!