If you want to make consistent exercise a part of your life, then you should consider the practice of intuitive exercise.
The idea behind the intuitive exercise is that the tendency for people to work out simply because they want their bodies to look good or ideal is actually damaging to both mental health and your motivation to exercise. A better approach is to look at your workout from the lens of how you want your body to feel rather than how you want it to look.
By engaging with exercise in a positive light and finding workout routines that you genuinely enjoy, you’re more likely to improve body confidence and your sense of self-efficacy. So, how exactly do you let your exercise routines be guided by the way you feel?
The following 5 tips from mindbodygreen will help you get started with exercising intuitively.
Find a workout you love to do: Exercise is meant to challenge your body, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Notice what types of exercise are stimulating you mentally and opt for those. You’ll find it much easier to summon the motivation to exercise each day.
Tune in to how your body feels when you’re working out: Rather than mentally checking out during your next tough workout, hone in on the physical sensation you experience. To help you with this, mindbodygreen suggests you find a teacher who cues you to visualize the muscle you’re working at any given moment during exercise, which can actually help you activate the muscle more deeply. It can also help prevent injury because you’re more present and less distracted.
Note how your body feels post-workout as motivation for the next one: If your mood is up and your anxiety is gone after a workout, make a mental note of how that feels. Knowing you will feel amazing after exercising is the best way to gather intrinsic motivation and will help you look forward to the next workout session.
Schedule workouts intuitively: If you are rigid with your set workout time and decide to exercise even if it’s not what your body needs at that moment, it can lead to more stress and exhaustion. Your body goes through changes every day, so adjust accordingly. When you take the time to listen to your body and work out when it’s feeling ready, you’ll be more confident going into your workout.
Talk to your body the way you would a dear friend: The narrative you have in your head about your body is important. Repeating limiting beliefs like “I’m not strong enough” will only hold you back. Although having these types of thoughts are normal, you shouldn’t let them have free reign. Instead, treat your body like you would treat a good friend. Encourage it. Make it feel loved. When you do this, you bring positive energy into your workout that will help you get through it.