Yesterday it was a real shvitzer in Washington D.C., with temps reaching almost 100 degrees with high humidity. I figured that I should pass on my usual outdoor walk. Instead, I decided to exercise at home. I had the grand idea to pull up a random YouTube video. The video had over 700 thousand views, so I figured it must be good.
I was wrong. So very very wrong.
I had my first clue that it would not go well when I turned it on and the peppy instructor was literally jumping up and down. She assured the viewers that the video would be the most fun exercising they’ve ever had. I’m not sure why, but I started following her instructions, jumping, lunging, squatting. It was definitely not the most fun I’ve ever had. After about 10 minutes, I collapsed (strikethrough) gave up.
A Better Routine
After seeing the video, I felt a sadness for the many women who, like me, aren’t built for high-intensity jumping.
Many years ago, when I first started exercising regularly, I fell into the same trap. I thought I needed to do aerobics to be healthy. I would go to the gym and try to keep up with the Step Class that other women seemed to do effortlessly. Despite many months of trying, I could never enjoy this type of workout. It wasn’t good for me. I would become exhausted and no matter how often I did the workouts, my body never seemed to get used to them. Instead, I learned to workout in ways that work for me instead of against me.
I learned it was okay to ditch aerobics.
Yes, I felt funny about it, but I listened to my body and it was telling me to stay far, far away from those extreme (to me) workouts.
Treat Your Body with Care
Instead, I decided to listen to what my body needed. I started walking outdoors regularly and only went to the gym to do exercises I enjoyed, like pilates. Soon, I found that I had a ton of energy. My stress was melting. I’d found a way to exercise that celebrated my body instead of punishing it.
Because I was seeing such positive results, I kept it up. I’ve tweaked my routine many times since those early days, but I still remember to always listen to my body.
My Current Routine
These days my routine includes walking outdoors 3-4 days a week and doing yoga 2-3 days a week. I love that my exercise routine nourishes my body and my mind. I’ve recently started listening to podcasts so my walking time is even more special since I get to experience nature while also listening to something interesting.
Listen to Your Body
We were designed to move. To feel our best every day and to be filled with energy and clear our minds, we do need some form of exercise. But everybody is different and needs to move in a way that honors itself. Listen to your body. What does it need? If it needs gentle movement, honor yourself with gentle exercises, such as yoga. If your body needs high intensity to burn off excess energy, honor that, as well. Whatever exercise you choose to do, take time to pause and reflect to make sure it’s a good fit for you, making your body and your mind happy for years to come.