Movement has always been a part of my life and as I got older the intensity of that movement increased. I truly enjoyed pushing my body beyond its limits and seeing what I was capable of. However, it was something that I could never keep up long term and was constantly going from the highs and lows that come from that style of intense training.
When I became a mother, the lows were far longer than the highs when it came to moving. My body didn’t feel the same as before and I didn’t have the time or the energy that I once did. I pushed on in the impossible quest to look and act as though I did not have a baby; fully buying into the external messaging I was receiving telling me this was the only goal that mattered. The result- I was stressed out, exhausted and sore all the time.
There are many wonderful trainers helping mothers or those dealing with injury get back to their former movement, in fact I was one of them. But no one was saying that it was ok if you didn’t want to. That you have the answers within you to keep moving for life and that it could not only be beneficial but could reshape how you see yourself and your body in the best way possible. It all involved moving intuitively.
This realization set me on a new path in both my life and business that has been more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. Today I want to share why movement is so important and why people of all stages of life are struggling to make it happen and what I have discovered you can do to change it.
Moving our bodies is essential to life. We are told we need to move daily as part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can be hard to figure out how to make it fit into our busy and often stressful lives.
There are many benefits to moving our bodies daily including boosted energy and mood, lowered symptoms of depression and anxiety, regulated sleep patterns and an overall feeling of wellbeing. Often however in our quest to be healthy and build strength and confidence we choose movement that is intense or restrictive as that is what we are told will give us the most benefits the fastest. While these may work for a while, ultimately, they are incredibly hard if not impossible to maintain.
In fact, a study done by BodyBuilding.com shows that 73% of people gave up before reaching their movement goal <source- https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/2013-100k-transformation-contest-press-release.html>. The reasons for giving up they gave are the following:
42 percent say it's too difficult to follow a diet or workout regimen
38 percent say it's too hard to get back on track once they fall off
36 percent say it's hard to find time
When we can’t maintain our program and inevitably quit, it can leave us feeling like a failure. This can feed into the negative stories we may be carrying (i.e. ‘I’m not good enough’) and cause us to stop moving altogether.
This lack of movement can be thought of as a puddle of water. When we are moving, we are like a stream, clear and healthy, but when there is no movement the water gets murky & stagnant and can even lead to illness. Therefore, it is so important to find movement that will work for you long term.
When it comes to moving our bodies long term there are things we need to consider and that includes changing our relationship with movement. When we can shift our thoughts that movement must been extreme or intense to be effective to instead looking at what we can maintain over time, it can have a huge effect on not only our bodies but our confidence as well.
To find movement that can be maintained long term, they must have these three attributes. I call these the ‘3 Pillars of Lifelong Movement’.
Flexible- your movement plan needs to be flexible so that it isn't an all or nothing deal. Because if it is, when things come up you are often likely to choose nothing. Have back up plans and different lengths of time so that no matter what you are always doing something each day.
Sustainable- does the movement stress you out? Does it feel overwhelming? If so, it probably isn't sustainable and something you can keep up long term. Find movement that improves how you feel mentally and physically instead of draining you.
Enjoyable- movement that you enjoy makes you far more likely to make the time to get it done. It can also shift how you view your body when you see what it is capable of in a positive way.
When we can choose movement that fits into the above categories, we are setting ourselves up for success. To do this we need to shift our focus inward and ask ourselves what we want and need rather than look outward for someone to tell us. This self-reflection has benefits that go well beyond moving your body, but movement is the easiest place to start.
It is also important to remember that movement can be anything. Walking, running, dancing, lifting, hiking, yoga- the list is endless. Just because you aren’t in a gym doesn’t mean that you aren’t moving in a way that benefits you both physically and mentally. Sometimes we can get caught in belief system that tells us that if movement isn’t ‘xyz’ then it isn’t worth doing. When that happens and the ‘xyz’ movement isn’t something we enjoy we will most likely choose nothing.
Changing our relationship with movement is a journey and one that requires a lot of self-compassion along the way. We won’t always make the right choices; old thinking will resurface, and we may fall back into old patterns. The important thing is that we are kind to ourselves and keep moving forward. Acknowledge old thoughts for what they are, the old you, and release them. View mistakes as learning experiences, not failures, and carry on. Long term change requires long term work- there are no quick fixes here. But the results will change your life.
Since starting down the path of intuitive movement and looking within, I can honestly say I have never been happier. I move daily in joy, rest with intention and am present for all the things in my life that matter. I see my body as an amazing vessel that is capable of great things whether intense or gentle. Most importantly, I am confident in who I am, something that had alluded me in this life. You can change your life and it starts from within.
Amanda Ingram is the creator of Momtuitve™ Movement Program, an Intuitive Movement Coach and owner of Embrace & Glow. She helps women from around the world tap into their intuition, build trust and confidence in their bodies and selves and fully step into their power. You can find her at www.embraceandglow.com and facebook.com/embraceandglow