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I know joy and exercise in the same title what’s that about. For many people who have been dieting on and off for years exercise goes hand in hand with dieting and yes when doing the diet and doing well exercise is often enjoyable people can feel empowered and on top of the world but when the diet stalls often so does the exercise. For others exercise is often just a chore from the start something that needs to be endured to help get the weight loss results.
From a self-care point of view yes movement and physical activity can be helpful in making people feel better and for other aspects of health but like eating, it can cause stress in our lives if it becomes another thing to beat ourselves up about or shamed about.
So how do you start to look at exercise more like the non-diet approach to health? In the non-diet approach you tune in to how hungry you are and asking yourself what your body wants based on what foods you enjoy and will meet your needs at any given time. Likewise with exercise you tune into what type of exercise you enjoy and what will meet your needs to help you do what you want.
The most important conversation to have with yourself is what activities do I enjoy and what makes them enjoyable and you will come up with activities to try and then explore what is available. When you start looking at this you might find what’s important to you is the company of others , or being out in the fresh air, it might even be that the exercise itself might be just ok but the affects you feel on your body afterwards might make the type of exercise a winner. Maybe you were quite active when you were younger and slowly other aspects of life got in the way perhaps it was when you were at school that you loved some sports but stopped when you left school. You may also think that that exercise is something that is not for you maybe bad memories going back to schooldays perhaps you were teased and are worried that that this will happen again. If this is you then you probably have to look at why you dislike exercise what were your experiences and are there any types of exercise where you would feel ok. Remember that your activity doesn’t have to be a formal exercise it can be your everyday activity it doesn’t have to be a lot it could be just go for a 5 minute walk to get started and see how you feel.
I have listed some ideas about exercise to help get you started but remember it’s your thoughts and ideas that are the most important.
Get off bus one stop earlier
Park at far end of the carpark when shopping
Cycling to work or just out for a ride
10 pin bowling
Walking the dog
Paddling or swim in the sea
Formal exercise classes e.g. spinning, circuits, chair based exercise
If you are looking for company for exercise and you haven’t any friends interested in an exercise why not check out the internet, local library, sports centres even the supermarket notice boards for local organised groups who do this activity. But remember whatever you decide to do if you haven’t exercised for a long time start slowly. If you don’t enjoy something after giving it a go look for other activities that will be more enjoyable ,don’t beat yourself up if occasionally you don’t exercise.