Working as a health coach, I find that the best exercise to recommend to a client is one that is connected to their heart. People will commit to moving their bodies consistently if they feel joy when they move that way. Discipline and will power alone can only take us half way. Using joy as inspiration is a much easier path, paved with less resistance and fewer excuses offering a bigger sense of inner-connectedness.
I suggest that everyone try and discover his or her own inner version of the Greek god of athletics, Hermes. We are all wired with unique physical talents, perspectives and tastes, understanding them can open other possibilities of knowing yourself at a deeper level of your existence. Focusing on what you enjoy enables you to maintain your balance in the body you have, rather than wishing you had a different body.
Here are a few practical suggestions on how you can uncover that heart-to-movement connection:
1. Think back to your childhood. There is always at least one activity that we loved as children. We would find any excuse to do it. We ignored grown-ups comments and interruptions because we were so wrapped up in it. For me it was dance. I remember dancing in front of the TV in our small living room whenever music came on. I recently rediscovered this form of movement by joining an adult ballet introductory class. The class gave me an unparalleled feeling of joy and I left feeling elated... and I got a great workout.
2. Create a list of activities you always wanted to try. If you have never tried yoga, dance, Pilates, roller-skating, biking, riding a scooter, or tennis, make an effort to try. Find inexpensive classes at your local YMCA, or borrow the equipment from a friend. Mainly, give yourself the opportunity to discover something you can love.
3. Think seasonally. Especially if you live in a seasonal climate, try to think of physical movement in a cyclical way. Rather than quickly letting go of your outdoor cardio favorites when the first snow hits the ground, try to find new ways to keep yourself entertained in that weather. This keeps you connected to nature and the cycles of your own body. It keeps things new and interesting all year long.
4. Focus on Joy. The main point is to try and find your own flow. Scientists who study positive psychology termed the activity where one loses him/herself, forgets about ego, and loses the sense of time as the flow. Sometimes we also refer to it as in the zone. Any activity that connects you to your inner essence is an endless fountain of joy, strength, creativity, and health. It rejuvenates and propels our life with a renewed sense of empowerment.