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
- Feel good in my body
- Feel good in my mind
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.