Ann Mackechnie – Revive Studio – @revivepilatesandyoga – email@example.com
It is strange how we intuitively know that our feelings influence our movements but often forget that movement affects our feelings too. We often see movement as a chore rather than marvelling at our bodies’ ability to get us from A to B or even to improve at what we repeatedly make it do. We should not purely move because we know exercise can lead to weight loss or out of guilt for what we have consumed in our diets. Both can create an unhealthy and unsustainable approach to exercise.
Rather let us examine the other positive outworkings of moving our bodies by pondering the iconic words of Elle Woods from Legally Blonde: ““Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy”. Elle is indeed correct; exercise does enhance our mood by releasing chemicals known as endorphins that relieve stress and pain, sadly two side effects looming over many of us in light of 2020’s aftermath. Sleep and exercise are also allies – with regular exercise comes the improvement in both the quality and quantity of our daily sleep (good news for all those who enjoy tracking their nightly zzzs using their smartwatches).
The long term effects of movement are also advantageous as on average, both bone health and memory are protected to a greater degree as we age if we exercise regularly. So, making movement a priority has definite perks and should be enjoyed at any age.
However, the catch with movement is we must find the form of it which we personally enjoy. My suggestion would be to cast the net wide; try out all sorts of exercise from spinning, to dance, to tennis, to martial arts or even rock climbing. Find something or a few forms (I love some variation personally!) and commit to practising regularly. Try build a community around your chosen form(s) of movement; this way you will be accountable and have a supportive base to your practice, making it a multifaceted way to care for your mental and physical health.
As a Pilates and soon to be Yoga instructor, I know the value of making space for solitary movement in your schedule. I think it makes you more creative and can often centre you better than a class full of people where distraction is more likely to occur. This solitary practice of movement could be going on a short walk (or if you are lucky enough to have a dog take it along), going for a swim or even gardening. Make space for movement that allows you to ponder your thoughts but also relaxes your body and allows you to appreciate this spectacular vessel that carries you around daily. As Joseph Pilates wisely stated: “change happens through movement and movement heals”. Do not see movement as a way in which to punish your body but rather a way to soothe your mind and honour your body for its continual service to you.