When I became pregnant with my daughter some 20 years ago, I changed nothing about my running routine, working out, teaching classes, hiking, etc, until I had to stop running at around 4 and half months into my pregnancy. I started to get what is called ‘hard belly’ and for the ﬁrst time in many years, I actually listened to what my body was trying to tell me.
Being someone who had incorporated exercise into my daily routine without fail, as I did brushing my teeth, I opted for an alternative to running – Introducing the antiquated ‘Indoor stationery bike’.
The kilometres I rode (whilst going nowhere), saw me through right up until my daughter was born, and again pretty soon afterwards. Today, my stationery bike takes pride of place in the corner of my tiny apartment, having been upgraded once during the years (the fan belt of my old model wore out and I replaced it with a sturdy ‘kettler’ model).
This piece of, not so attractive I might add, equipment, has travelled across the globe twice, moved house with me more than 20 times over the years, and remains my saving grace for the days when going for a run is not on my agenda, but when exercising is a non-negotiable.
Somehow, I have never looked upon moving my body as something I ‘have to do’, but rather something that I ‘just do’.
For many people, exercise is looked upon as something that needs to be ‘scheduled’, something that has to be added on to their already stretched and packed agendas.
What I would like to invite you to do is, to look for the opportunities in your day, where moving your body plays a role in going about your daily activities.
Some obvious things are the cliche ‘Park the car further from the supermarket’, or ‘Take the stairs instead of the lift’, or just get out and go for a walk.
However, I would like to invite you to look for the little opportunities, the ones which were around before the world became a technological mineﬁeld.
Looking back in time, when some of the ways in which moving was more of a necessity are, to name a few; changing the tv channel (required getting up from the sofa, and physically pressing a button before returning to sitting); washing clothes (several muscle groups involved in the art of hand washing, wringing, and hanging up); Cleaning the home – really cleaning it! (digging into corners, sweeping, mopping, washing, scrubbing, sorting); Ironing & mending clothes (mending and altering/sewing and making – all incredible workouts for both mind and body).
So without the need to head back into living in the past, the most important step to take in becoming an exercise opportunist, is to become aware. Becoming aware/conscious of how much or how little your body gets to move and stretch itself throughout the day, is key to introducing some new habits and letting go of some sedentary ways.
Here are a couple of things you can start to incorporate, to get you going.
- Instead of asking someone to bring you something from the next room, eg …”when you’re coming through can you bring me….?”…, just get up and do it yourself.
- After each meal, give yourself even just 10 minutes of moving your body, in whatever way you feel inclined, which will optimise your digestion and alleviate lethargy, not to mention help you sleep more soundly.
- Set an alarm by your computer, if your work requires you to be at your desk for the majority of your work day, and incorporate standing up, stretching, squatting, deep breathing, a couple of yoga stretches, or just walking around to get your blood circulating again. Do this several times throughout your day.
- Cycle instead of driving where possible, including trips to the supermarket, taking the stairs instead of the lift, biking to the gym instead of driving so this can be your warm up, therefore reducing your time spent indoors.
- Play, dance, trampoline, skip rope, hula hoop, and allow your body to instinctively get back to it’s innate desire to be free and mobile.
- Clean your home, really clean it…. often.
When you begin to connect with how much your body is designed to be eﬀortlessly mobile, it becomes easier to let it guide you to what brings you the most joy.
Our bodies are amazing, it’s time to let them take the lead.
In the words of Eileen Caddy, The Dawn of Change’…
“…Stop sitting there with your hands folded looking on, doing nothing; Get into action and live this full and glorious life. Now. You have to do it…..”