Hey there! Today I'm sharing the 7 fabulous reasons I love to move because I've been asked about it before and it always gets me thinking about how I can motivate, inspire and help others do the same. It's also got me thinking about how I made the change from couch potato to a lover of all things movement and how you might also make a change for the better if you're in the same boat.
1. I feel capable
There's nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that you'll follow through on what you set your mind to, whether it's running for 10 mins without stopping or running your first 10km race. Whenever I finish a workout, regardless of what it is, I feel more capable because I've followed through on something that's important to me and I've prioritised myself. Also I find, particularly when I run, that I rely on my inner voice to encourage myself so that I can make it up a big hill or keep going without stopping. Strengthening this inner voice of encouragement and belief in yourself is SO powerful and ends up being such a positive influence in your whole life. You will definitely feel the benefit of it in other areas!
2. I make progress
Much like feeling more capable, I absolutely love that feeling of being able to do more push ups today than I could do mere days ago. I love going to Soccer training and knowing that no matter how much sprinting we do, my butt won't feel as kicked as the first time I had to do it because I've practiced and got fitter in the meantime. I love the feeling of elation at finally being able to run up that big hill in my neighbourhood that it's taken me weeks to conquer. The progress you make with your fitness is constant, if you pay attention to it! And I find it's a really positive thing to have personal goals for yourself outside of work; they are for you and nobody else, so you own that prize at the end baby.
3. I feel more in tune with my body
When you're not moving your body in ways that really satisfy and fuel you, you're not likely to be feeling very in touch with yourself or your body. On the flipside, when you're moving and enjoying yourself more often than not, you'll notice that subtle mind-body connection gets strengthened over time. You'll be more aware of your energy levels throughout the day; you'll notice your breath and will come to love the feeling of a big breath of fresh air in your lungs (thank you, cardio); you'll come to love that familiar warmth throughout your whole body that lasts for hours after a good workout. When you've got the balance right, you can tangibly feel your body humming with wellbeing and you'll glow from the inside out.
4. I sleep better
I've never had an issue with sleeping well, thankfully, but for those of you who find it difficult to fall asleep or waking up during the night, exercise can really help. I have found over the years that even though I'm a great sleeper (ha) the quality of my sleep really improves when I'm moving regularly. It's like it dials it up a notch and goes from 'good' to 'better'. A lot of the time mental energy and too much mental stimulation is what can affect people's sleep and I know that I personally benefit hugely from getting some of that energy out with a good workout. One thing I will say is to be aware not to do a strenuous workout too close to bedtime as this can lead to post-workout insomnia, which is not fun and kind of defeats the purpose of this point.
5. I get some nature time
Most of us these days work in an office, it's just the reality of working life in our society at the moment. I know I've found it really difficult at times in my working life, especially in Winter, because I don't get half as much outdoor time as I'd like. But, if I'm going for a run at lunch time up to Kings Park or I head to our local park down the road after work, I feel I benefit on two levels: exercise + I get some time outdoors and can commune with nature. It's the same if I'm going to soccer practice or going for a run around the neighbourhood - I'm outside, breathing in the fresh air, surrounded by real, living things and it hits a sweet spot in me. I'd even love to start going on some hikes in the Perth hills and in some of our beautiful national forest down south for this very purpose. Time in nature is far more important than you might realise. Next time you're out and about, in a park on forest or at the beach, notice how you feel before you arrive and after you leave. Feel more calm, centred and grounded when you leave? That's nature's influence on you.
6. It's fun!
This is no less important just because it's further down the list! Exercise can be so rewarding purely because it's good fun. Whether you're going to a class with a friend, playing a team sport once a week, having a kick with a mate at the park - it doesn't matter. When you're having fun you're generally relaxed, which means your body can more readily recover from you workout AND did you know that the more relaxed you are, the easier it is for your body to assimilate the nutrients from your food? It's a positive cycle that's only going to keep getting better. Always make sure you're enjoying yourself when you move and if you're not, change it up and find something that works better for you. Remember, this is your journey with it and it doesn't have a destination, so go for what feels good for you.
7. Bonus +
Nobody can deny that when we're moving our bodies and looking after ourselves more, we're going to naturally start to glow and look healthier, but I like to think of this last one as a bonus reason I love to move rather than a core motivating reason. Why? Because when my sole focus was on looking good, I couldn't motivate myself in the slightest to exercise. It was not a positive motivator for me, in fact it was more negative, and of course as such I found I dreaded workouts rather than relished them. When all I focused on was the external benefit of exercise, I found I wasn't consistent with my movement and would inevitably stop because it wasn't fun and I didn't feel good. Now that my perspective has totally changed and I focus on all the things listed above as my reasons for moving my body, I find that the 'looking good' part is something I feel pretty indifferent about. I'm not denying that it feels great to have your clothes fit better, your skin glow, people comment on how well you're looking and all that good stuff, but it carries less meaning to me than all my other reasons. I choose to see it as a lovely bonus :)
What are your favourite ways to move? What motivates you to work out and have you been through a change of perspective like I have? Let me know in the comments what your journey has been and if you've found this post useful or inspiring!