We’re present at an interesting time in the health and wellness field. We’re learning that implementing lifestyle changes over diet programs truly transforms our minds and bodies. We’re purchasing real, local food to nourish ourselves over fake, chemically enhanced products that poison us and leave us hungry minutes after we finish eating. We’re trying to live in peace with our physical environment, and we’re aware that caring for our planet ultimately preserves our own lives. We can espouse the same philosophy in the way we approach physical exercise. We can move our bodies in a loving way, in a way that cultivates balance between our mental, physical, and environmental lives, by exercising for the sole purpose of feeling better.
Personally, yoga nourishes every part of my life, but when I’m jonesing for a way to instantly rejuvenate my excitement for life, I turn to the ruler of the music scene and the embodiment of female power, Madonna. For me, exercising exclusively to feel better means flipping on Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet Tour DVD and dancing my heart out. When I shake my booty to her classics and newest creations, my blood flows, my mood lifts, and my gnawing desire to burn a designated number of calories disappears.
Exercising without counting calories or grimacing at the body parts we deem less than perfect frees us from these toxic, counterproductive thoughts. Moving our bodies for the sole purpose of feeling better, instead of burning off an indulgence, alters the entire way we implement exercise into our lives-it slims our waistlines and increases our confidence! It shifts our focus from critiquing our bodies with an overly discerning eye to embracing our bodies and appreciating all that they can do.
I encourage you to find your own way to exercise simply to feel better. Check out the Sticky and Sweet Tour DVD if you’re a Madonna fan, or find your exercise equivalent. Whether you’re into yoga, dancing, running, walking, Pilates, weight lifting, or any other activity you’re passionate about, try participating in it simply to feel better. If we move our bodies just to lift our spirits, we’ll gain the positive, synergistic relationship between our mental, physical, and environmental selves that we crave!
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Story by Sarah Greenberg. Sarah is a yoga enthusiast, and University of Maryland student.