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Movement & Physical Self-Care

Adult and child playing on playground

Written by Claire Ranit

As the last blog focused on self-care, eating habits, and how to bring the two together in a healthy way, I think it’s important to touch on the other often obvious aspect of physical self-care which is exercise. And to get things started off, I want us to stop thinking about exercise and instead think about movement.

Side note: Follow these hyperlinks if you want to read up on food and self-care on the Create Resiliency blog or get a better understanding of why we often struggle with healthy eating choices from Kevin Moore of Reembody.

I’ve always enjoyed moving but I’ve never enjoyed the thought of exercise. Now, from a calorie-burning perspective those activities can be one and the same. But from a goal-oriented perspective they can be very different. For me moving is about connecting with my body, sensing motion, adapting to forces, and challenging my capabilities in a healthy way. While exercise, well that’s always been about burning calories or looking a certain way. Most times I’ve focused on how many calories I burned in a workout session I find the minutes crawling by and myself disappointed in the results thinking, “really, all that work and only 100 calories burned?” So, I tapped into this insight. If I didn’t like exercise, then I would think about movement. How am I moving every day?

Now, because I think about exercise as movement, I find myself looking forward to it every day. It’s about connecting with my body and tapping into my proprioception and challenging myself to move in new and different ways. Proprioception, simply put, is your ability to sense where each part of your body is in space. Kind of weird right? We don’t often think about it, but for most of us we usually know where each of our body parts are in the world all day long. For more on proprioception and how to improve it, check out this blog from Kevin Moore of Reembody.

The following is one of Kevin’s three recommendations for improving your proprioception:  

“Think variety, not intensity. Your proprioceptor organs light up no matter what you’re doing; doing it harder isn’t necessarily doing it better. Put the weights down and just experiment with movements you’ve never done before. You don’t need a bosu ball, you don’t need a wobble cushion, you don’t need a Power Plate. (Let’s be serious: no one needs a Power Plate.) Remember, you’re drawing a map: use a pencil, not a jackhammer.

Example: Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Do cartwheels in the “other” direction. Got kids? Take them to a playground, follow them around for fifteen minutes and do whatever they do. Seriously. That last one will blow your mind.” – Kevin Moore, Reembody

So, as you think about building in movement to your physical self-care routine, get creative. Traditional exercise is an option but look at building creative and new ways of movement into your daily life. Chronic and/or toxic stress can disconnect us from our bodies so the goal is to reconnect with your body and understand how it feels. To read up more on body sense and embodied self-awareness checkout this article from Psychology Today