The drive to work is easier this time of year; no school buses or crossing guards, less cars on the road and, with the exception of the seasonal road construction, it is pretty smooth and enjoyable. I was thinking this morning how it makes up for the months of traffic headaches with ice, huge snow piles, and more vehicles in the winter months.
Life is dynamic. The challenging times come and go. The enjoyable times come and go. Its all normal. It can seem like the challenges come more often and stay longer than the easy and enjoyable times though? We are not just imagining things when life seems more challenging than enjoyable. Our brain has a “negativity bias”. It is set up to look for what is wrong, could go wrong, or did go wrong, in order to keep us safe. Rick Hanson puts it this way “negative thoughts are like Velcro, and positive ones are like Teflon”.
This effects how we approach exercise. We try really hard to exercise away what is wrong with our bodies. We try tricks to fix our low motivation. We try to fit it into our already full schedules. We try to push our body to be stronger, faster, better. With all this trying to fix what is wrong we forget that movement itself has been a resource for celebrating life for all of time.
Its summer! Time for taking it easy, resting, having fun, enjoying life a bit! How about we stop trying with exercise and just enjoy moving? Put on music and dance. Play with kids. Walk to discover a new place.
Three years ago I wrote this blog on the health benefits of play. Could it be that all this “trying” is leading us to miss out on the true benefits of moving – to enjoy life a bit more? What would happen if we stopped trying and start playing? Simply enjoy moving in any way, for however long, and as often as your body allows you to. No rules, just move in a playful way.
It might be worth a try. What we have been doing to “try” to move more has not been working. In the past 18 years the amount of people who get the recommended amounts of exercise has increased from 16% to 20%! 4% in 18 years! No business would survive with that growth rate! Could part of the problem be that exercise has become more about guilt, dread, pain, and fatigue rather than relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation?
Lets see what happens between now and Labor day if we simply think of exercise as a way to play and enjoy life more!
Enjoy Moving, Be Well!
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These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.