Day 6: Exercise As Creative Expression

Have you ever noticed how in the zone you get when you truly enjoy something you are doing? Time sort of becomes irrelevant and you get lost in what some people call the "creative expression" of the moment. Exercise and moving your body can fall into this category of creative expression. It might feel odd to think about exercise like that, especially if it's been a while since you connected with your body in this way, but let's give it some thought today. Many people tend to view exercise as something that they must force themselves to do. They think that if you want to be healthy, it's something that you've got to just do. If your goal is to create a lifestyle of long-term health, fitness, and ultimately happiness, I believe that exercise can be something that you look forward to doing, rather than something you dread. In your journal, make a list of the types of exercise that you genuinely enjoy doing. Not what you think you need to do in order to reach any specific goal, but what you really like doing. Here are some examples:
  • Organized sports – soccer, basketball, hockey, baseball, softball, dodge ball, volleyball
  • Yoga – Bikram, Bhakti, Hatha, Vinyasa
  • Long-distance running, short-distance running
  • High-intensity circuits
  • Outdoor – walking, hiking, rock climbing, surfing, skiing, biking
  • Water sports - Swimming, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding
  • Zumba
  • Pilates
  • Bootcamp
  • Dancing
  • Golf
  • Playing with your child or dog

Making health and fitness fun

In order to create a lifestyle of health and fitness that is sustainable over the long-term, you’ve got to enjoy it. Period. True health and fitness isn’t sustainable if you are miserable in the process of achieving it. Yeah, you might be able to use this philosophy in order to achieve a short-term goal, but that isn't true health, and it's not maintainable long-term. A crucial aspect of making health and fitness fun is finding ways to get yourself excited about getting out and moving your body. Remember the difference between empowering goals versus self-defeating goals from Day 1? Health and fitness can be something that you feel like you “get” to do, rather than something that you “have” to do. By making a list of the activities that you enjoy doing, you allow yourself to tap into that creative part of yourself. When we allow ourselves to be driven to exercise for too long by self-defeating goals (and/or by other people's rules) we lose touch with this part of ourselves. Take the time today to strip away all of the rules and all of the do this and don't do that that you've learned along the way, and really think about what YOU enjoy doing for fitness. When you are done, put this list side-by-side with your Live Well 360 List, I bet there are some congruencies.

What if I can't think of anything?

If you are having a lot of trouble thinking of activities that you would enjoy doing, don't worry. We are going to cover some other topics in the next few weeks that will help you. For a lot of people, the minute they give themselves permission to think about what they enjoy doing instead of what they've been told they need to do, all kinds of negative feelings start popping up. Thoughts of laziness, guilt, that's-not-hard-enough-so-it-can't-possibly-work, etc etc ... the long list of excuses, barriers, and reasons why they can't possibly do it appear. Let those thoughts go. Those thoughts are not "live well 360," live your best life worthy. They are hold-you-back-from-who-you-really-are type barriers.

The next step

There is no pressure to sign up for a class or an organized sport tomorrow. Are you surprised? I know that is how you might expect this blog post to end. But no, no pressure to act or commit to something today. The purpose of this post is for you to become more aware. You don't have to figure this all out at once. All we are doing today is giving yourself permission to think about exercise in a totally different and inspiring way. The answers to how you might begin incorporating these things into your life will come to you. Just relax and be open to new ideas and new inspiration, which may come to you when you least expect it! What are some of the physical activities you find most fun?
Who completed today's challenge? Check out the entire Live Well 360 30-Day Challenge series.
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