By Julia Marquette MS, RD, LDN
When deciding how you want to move your body, check in with yourself.
You may feel differently in your body from yesterday, last week, last month, and even from an earlier time today.
You might ask yourself:
- How are you currently feeling in your body?
- What is your intention to move your body?
- How do you want to feel mentally? Calmer? Less stressed? Energized?
- What kind of movement would feel good physically at this moment? Gentle stretching? Slower movement? Faster movement?
- What sounds fun?
- How much movement would feel good today?
- Would it feel best to move your body with others or alone?
- What time of day feels best to move your body? Do you prefer movement as a way to help you wake up in the morning and energize you for the day? Do you prefer to move your body after work and let go of any work stress? Do you prefer to use movement to wind down before going to sleep at night?
Remember that it’s ok if these change from day to day and even as your start to move your body.
If setting an intention for movement, you might consider some of these body neutral reasons:
- To have fun
- To connect with your body
- To feel energized
- To help you relax
- To release stress
- To feel rejuvenated
- To help improve sleep
- For social connections
- To improve your mood
- To help you focus more
Notice, without judgement, how your body feels during and after movement throughout the day.
Notice any signals that your body is sending you. Can you notice these internal signals without using external measures, an app, or a fitness tracker? Notice any differences from before vs after movement. Does the type of movement help you feel more connected and in-tune with your body? Or does the movement increase your disconnection and make listening to your own body’s signals more challenging? Is it helping you to feel more empowered and embodied?
Give yourself permission to rest, stop in the middle of what you’re doing, and adjust your plan to best meet yourself where you are in the moment. If in the middle of a jog and it’s no longer serving you, give yourself permission to change your plan and walk home. If at a movement class and you notice the movement is not what feels best for your body, whether an instructor encourages you to or not, you do in fact have permission to modify movement, change what you’re doing, rest, and address your needs.
Try not to compare your movement and movement patterns to others’ or even to your own on a different day. What feels best for one person might be very different for another, and what feels best for you one day might be different from another day.
Practice allowing yourself to rest and listening to your body when it wants rest. Give yourself permission to skip movement—whether you are tired, sick, plans come up that you would rather do, or you’re just not feeling it.
Try listening to your body’s needs and responding without judgement. Movement will always be there for you when you are ready. Being flexible with your movement routine can help to keep movement joyful instead of it feeling like a chore.
Working with a registered dietitian and the rest of your team can help support you in exploring and healing your relationship with movement.
Please feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in working with one of our dietitians.