Incorporating movement into our daily lives by Hannah Bohn

Exercise has a bad rap.

Many of us associate it with calorie burning, and it can begin to feel like an obligatory task, chore or even worse, a punishment. We often antagonize exercise by approaching it solely in terms of fitness goals or weight loss, which fuels an unhealthy mindset that conflates the food we consume and the amount of exercise we do.

When thinking of a “workout,” what exactly comes to mind? Common exercise activities usually involve going on a run, jumping rope, weightlifting or sit-ups. There is a variety of movement we reserve for our understanding of what a workout looks like.

However, exercise doesn’t have to come in the form of treadmills, bench presses and squats.

We often overlook other forms of movement that have the same benefits of typical exercises but can be much more natural and fun. Rather than approaching exercise as it exclusively relates to health or weight maintenance, we should view daily movement as a way to engage our bodies with our surroundings.

Curating the ways we integrate movement into our routines can not only help us move more, but also make our lives more interesting. By incorporating movement into activities we enjoy, we can exercise without even noticing. This way, we use our bodies in a more dynamic and fulfilling fashion.

For example, say there is an art museum nearby you want to visit during your free weekends. Perusing the art while strolling from room to room is one way to move your body while connecting with a setting you enjoy.

In that instance, not only did you get to appreciate artwork, but you also spent time walking about.

The same logic applies to basically any activity that gets you moving while also adding some fun, meaning or spice to your life. Turning on some music in the kitchen and dancing a bit while you cook or going on a routine stroll while you take your daily phone call with a friend are also simple examples of merging physical activity with daily life.

Through this approach to movement, life can start to feel a little more exciting and lively. We become more immersed in what’s happening around us, we observe more in our present moment and we learn to appreciate the simple beauties of our surroundings.

We should dismantle the belief that exercise is intended to reshape our bodies. Instead, the emphasis should be on creating more opportunities to relish in what life has to offer.

As productive as standard workout videos and programs may be, they can take away from the joy of moving and often feel intimidating.

Don’t get me wrong, any form of regular exercise is healthy and deserves to be celebrated, but there is something unique about exercising without even labeling what you are doing as “working out.”

While exercise is a more modern innovation, movement is entirely ancient. Hunting and gathering, jumping, crawling, climbing, dancing, swimming and even sex, are all movements that our bodies are designed to do.

You can live a perfectly healthy life by embracing regular movement while never working out. 

We should use our bodies in every way we can. Incorporating more movement in our day is supposed to feel pleasurable, so we do not have to rely solely on motivation as an incentive to exercise. This way, there is no reason to stress about maintaining a specific workout regimen.

Natural movement in our everyday life can make us feel more in touch with how our body works and can even increase our confidence by building a stronger appreciation for all that our bodies can do for us every day.

We become more comfortable with our bodies when we use them more, prompting us to take better care of them and treat them with respect.

Regular movement establishes a sense of physical awareness that regimented exercise simply cannot compare to.

So, rethink the concept of exercise — it is a physical, personalized form of self-expression. It should be unique to your body and focus on what makes you feel energized, inspired or just a little more radiant.

The question we should ask ourselves is how we can use our bodies — not for the sake of external goals or at the expense of our enjoyment, but to equally enrich our lives and minds.

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