The New School of Exercise

Posted by | September 11, 2009 | Body, Food + Health | One Comment

The New School of Exercise.

For years, I treated exercise as a way to get results. I joined cross country in high school so that I would be forced to run a a lot (and be around a boy I thought was cute) and thereby burn a lot of calories and get thinner.  I kept training for marathons in college because I wanted the result of being thin. Ironically, I never maintained my goal weight with all of those miles and all of that calorie burn.

The reason why I did not get the results I was trying to get is that my focus was on GETTING – exercise does two things: It certainly can give you something so one of the things is that you get something from exercise. This is the “take” side of exercise that most people perceive as the primary motivation for exercise. But, more importantly, exercise is something you give to yourself. You give to yourself when you choose to exercise.  I want you to identify with only the giver part of exercising.

Back when I was a sophomore in college, I made friends with this girl who, oddly enough, enjoyed exercising because she only choose exercises that she liked doing.  I quickly found that I actually loathed running, but when I went with my new enlightened buddy to Pilates, I was in heaven. It harkened back to my toddler days in Gymboree, which I am told that I adored, and my mediocre and less fun times competing as a gymnast (that whole competition thing, just not for me, it turns out).

For MONTHS and MONTHS, all my amazing instructor taught me was technique. It was more like rehab than it was like exercise. And I dropped 20 lbs performing that non-exercise 3 times per week, reshaping my body and loving every sweat-free minute of it.

I walked out of the studio each session feeling like I lived only in my own, comfortable-fitting skin. I felt tall and in touch with myself. I had reconnected to my body.

Being disconnected from our bodies causes us to eat more than our bodies would like, and that causes us to gain weight without realizing it until our clothes don’t fit us.  The first step to reconnecting to yourself is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.  This is the beginning of a new relationship between you and your body, based on cooperation, connection and love.  (notice that I didn’t say discipline, rules and pain)  Because this relationship is built on listening to your body and respecting yourself.

The second step to reconnecting and your new relationship is exercise.

I am asking you to make a huge, huge shift from a taker, taking results and taking benefits to being a giver, giving your body the exercise that feels good to it and that are enjoyable.  You are giving your body movement, the gift of health, strength and time.

The reason you start exercising and choose the exercises in the first place is to feel like you are making a contribution to your life, filling your body with emotional deposits of love.  Of course there will be positive by products – as the giver, you feel good when you give.  Another by product will be health benefits that we’ll briefly talk about at the end of the class.  What giving yourself exercise does NOT feel like is an exhausting brutal drain to make yourself do and gives infrequent results.

If you already do this, exercise regularly because of what it gives to your body and choosing things your body really enjoys, you know that you regularly communicate to yourself and the world HOW YOU SHOULD BE TREATED.  You make a statement that you are willing to give to yourself for the sake of your own benefit, health and self care without so much regard of what you get out of it in terms of looking good or being thin.

You give yourself emotional strength that will show up in other areas of your life.  You give yourself pride and you teach yourself that you matter.

Tell me your thoughts here!

About Laurie Beard

just another person doing something she loves

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