Why Exercise?

I don’t recall the original impetus (maybe just that it had been a while?) but for some reason I decided to workout last week.

At the gym.

Upstairs, among the gym rats and machines and trainers, not downstairs in the beautiful yoga studio or the dance studio where I teach Dance Conditioning twice a week.

Don’t get me wrong, I exercise regularly.  It had just been quite a while since I “worked out”.

I lasted about 7 minutes then rewarded myself with a sauna.

It was a good workout, tabata style with lots of burpees and kettlebell swings, but the whole time I was trying to figure out why I was doing it.

I am not trying to lose weight; I am lighter than I’ve ever been in my adult life.

I am not trying to build muscle; I certainly want to maintain but that doesn’t seem to be a concern at all right now with my regular routine.

I wasn’t working toward any type of fitness or training goal that this workout would help me accomplish.

I wasn’t particularly needing the stress relief/adrenaline rush that exercise brings me in that moment.

So I threw in the towel. Or rather threw the towel around me and sweated my face off in the sauna.

While sitting in there for way too long I got to thinking about why I exercise, what my “goals” are, and the reason behind them.

I distilled it down to two major points; I exercise to

  1. Feel good in my body
  2. Feel good in my mind

Duh, right?

Yeah, yeah, not exactly rocket science but it was enlightening to me to realize that I have completely divorced myself from exercising as a weight loss or control technique (p.s, it doesn’t really work that way, more on that in another post soon).  New Year’s non-resolution 2015 # 3 in effect!!

Number one isn’t about physique as much as feeling limber, strong, and healthy.  Although I’m not dancing regularly at the moment, I am still a dancer and my body is my instrument.  Balanced strength and balanced flexibility is what makes a healthy, happy, graceful, conditioned, and ready dancer.

Number two is probably also connected to being a dancer and a mover but exercise, in all forms, helps me take pride in my body, helps me move through the world with more confidence, and provides a stress release utterly unique and unparalleled.

More specifically I need

Yoga because it allows me the time and space to really check in with my body and mind.  Physically yoga provides that balanced strength and balanced flexibility I need as a dancer.

Interval Workouts because they make me feel like an athlete.

Pilates because it is the foundation for proper alignment, helps a ton with preventing back pain, and knowing how to tap into my core strength improves my balance for dancing.

Running because it is the closest thing, beyond yoga, to a moving meditation that I’ve experienced. On the other hand I also get really motivated and creative when I run.  Running is hard, I am not a natural, so running makes me feel very proud of myself.  It’s also an excellent way to be outside.

Perhaps I have a tendency to over-anaylize and over-articulate but what all of this really boils down to is self care; is what I am doing with my time and energy serving me, if so how? If not, why and how can I either change that or let it go?

Exercise is “you” time, might as well make it the best spent, most worthwhile YOU time possible.

 

One Comment

  1. Jo @ mostlyfitmom

    I agree that exercise is me time. And I think that part of my issue with fitting in enough movement is that I feel guilty about choosing me time over other things, like time with my kids, or taking care of the necessary household chores.

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