14 Oct Move More and Feel Better!
I went hiking with a group of people a few weeks ago and part way through the walk we stopped at a cafe for a drink and a toilet break. One by one, everyone in the group sat down on the chairs around me and proceeded to tuck into cake, sausage rolls and scones with clotted cream while announcing to the rest of the group that they had “earned it” by walking for the previous two hours.
Mmmm….what does that have to do with anything?
I have no issue with having a snack if you are physically hungry. I have no issue with having cake or sausage rolls or scones sometimes. What worries me, is when people feel they need to be rewarded (with food) for any amount of movement that they do. Alternatively, I also worry when people feel like they can’t eat these foods unless they “earn” them first.
If you have a long history of dieting, there is a very good chance that your attitude towards physical activity is very all-or-nothing (along with your attitude towards food). Either you go to the gym three to five times per week or you don’t bother doing anything. Either your food is ‘good” or it is “bad.” When weight loss is the only thing that matters to you, your perspective on things changes and becomes very, very skewed (and sometimes very, very unhealthy). The obsession with weight loss seems to generate an attitude of, “if something isn’t going to help me lose weight, then I’m not going to bother.”
Physical activity…working out….exercise…movement….call it what you will, but our bodies were designed to MOVE, not to sit in front of a computer, in the car, on the couch, for 15+ hours per day. And assuming you move your body in a way that you enjoy and don’t try to do too much at one time, your body will feel so much better as a result of that movement. Do you want to feel better?
It is so interesting that when I speak to people about being more physically active, often the first words out of their mouth is, “But I don’t like to run.” Good…that makes two of us. But who said anything about running (or the gym for that matter)? There are literally millions of ways to be physically active. Let’s see…in the last month I’ve done Lindy hop dancing, hiking, walking, Pilates, cycling, yoga, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, and likely a few other things I’ve forgotten about.
At other times in my adult life I’ve also done circus school, kayaking, ballet, tap dancing, weight lifting, spin class, swimming, scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, waterskiing and aerobics. I do those things because they are fun and social and it gets me outside and they make a nice break from sitting at a desk all day. It’s never about calories…it is always about enjoyment. So it makes me so sad to see people under the incorrect perception that if they don’t hate it, or if it doesn’t burn a million calories, there isn’t any point.
There is a point. The point is to feel better in your own skin. The point is be able to do everything you want to do in life, from climbing a mountain to playing with your kids. The point is to have fun.
So what if, instead of using food to bribe yourself to do physical activity you don’t like, you moved your body in a way that you enjoyed just for the sheer pleasure of doing so? If you love to dance, then dance. If you like to run, then run. But focus on moving until you feel energised…not exhausted. If you finish on a high, you will want to do it again and again. If you finish feeling like you want to die, then there is a good chance that tomorrow will come and you mysteriously “won’t have time” to work out. The choice is yours to make.
Blog compiled by Sheri Taylor, Dietitian & Nutritionist at Halo.
Sheri Taylor offers clinics at Halo on the first Tuesday and the third Thursday of the month. If you would like to book an appointment, contact Sheri at 07787 603863 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no-obligation discussion of what your needs are and how she can help.