Whether you're fit and in shape, 40 pounds overweight, a raspy smoker, or a young beginner at exercising – we all have our own insecurities when it comes to moving our bodies.
Experts can share the health benefits of getting outside and walking in long lists, but until one finds the motivation to break free from the worrying, nagging, and fears of the mind, it can be very difficult to make change happen.
For that reason, here are seven ways to move like no one's watching. You don't need an excuse to become healthier, feel better, or just enjoy your life without pressure and judgment you might be perceiving from others (or, more often than not, yourself!). Move like no one's watching, enliven your life, and start happily bounding down the road you see yourself living!
1. Tune it out.
The constant mind chatter you create can be very concerning if you tend towards the negative. Wondering if that honk was aimed at you or the car on the street, worrying your thighs aren't jiggling too much, or just being super tense about exercising in public at all – sometimes it can be best to tune it out.
We're our WORST critics, and I find that when I feel pressured about my appearance, it's a sign I need to work on my own perception of myself and stop focusing on what others think. Tuning out with meditation (repeating positive affirmations) or music are my two favorites. Shut it out, rock that bod, and enjoy the glow of energizing your cells afterward. It's much more satisfying and easier to feel comfortable after you know you put in the effort and have done what you can to feel and look your best.
2. Escape to nature.
Growing up, I established a connection to myself and the woods I grew up in as a way to quietly escape. Puberty, life changes, you name it – the need to be alone in a sanctuary overwhelms us all, and that's why I find that retreating to nature for walks, runs, or yoga-in-the-sun sessions becomes so much more relaxing and far more motivating when you can focus all your energy on using what you were given. Using that time to become more comfortable with yourself and your body can also make it easier to face up to the days you may be in the presence of others while getting your daily session in.
3. Treat yourself to exercise gear that inspires you.
Ok, we've all done this, right? This can be a very uplifting approach to inspiring confidence for whatever activity you choose to engage in. Choosing some booty-licious yoga pants, a new pair of running shorts, an adorable dance top, or perhaps some new hiking boots can be the ticket that inspires you to get your groove on. I'm guilty of loving a pair of new running shoes, and I'll be using them the same night I buy them. Find your exercise weakness – it's one that's fun to play on!
4. Mark your progress.
Change doesn't happen overnight, and because the growth and morphing of the human body takes time, we can sometimes forget where we've been. Take pictures, keep a diary, map your progress and stay positive about all you've done so far on your journey for better health! It's a very challenging journey, but you're investing in one of the most important aspects of life, which will reward you in many ways.
5. Find support – buddy, coach, family.
Those days you want to skip the gym, sit down for a movie, and indulge in a snack? Get a buddy or a trainer who will help keep you accountable and motivated. Will it always be easy to want to get your half an hour to an hour in? Heck NO! But there's NEVER a workout you'll regret if you choose to just start it and give your best effort. Once you start to see the changes, it will become easier and easier... but in the beginning, the friend, coach, family member, or partner can make all the difference in supporting you in your health journey. Utilize the help!
6. Fuel correctly.
It is SO much easier to find inspiration to move your body when you fuel and nourish it correctly! One of the main reasons I never exercised that much growing up was that I didn't have the energy! Eating nutrient-poor foods (processed junk, high-fat animal foods, and too much sweet, refined sugary snacks) made me feel lucky if I got to my homework!
Just beginning to incorporate more fresh fruits, vegetables (green smoothies are the easiest way to do this) and reducing my consumption of processed foods and animal staples, I immediately felt incredibly better and was soon besting a lot of my other lifelong exerciser friends!
Now, when I get back from an eight-hour work day, I have the energy not only to go for a four-mile run, but to study and work on other projects almost every day of the week! The clarity of mind, motivation from living clean, and the inspiration all come as a natural by-product. To me this step is imperative, and I know you'll experience the same if you try it for yourself.
7. Find the right exercise for YOU.
Yoga's not for everybody. (How many people do you think just clicked off this page?) While I love it, it took me a LONG time to get into it, and I still have a lot to learn.
When I first started getting into the habit of moving my body, running was the most attractive thing. Once I started to step outside of my bubble, I experimented with zumba, cycling, NIA, tai chi, karate, and many other exercise modalities! Because we all have our different likes and dislikes, find a class or exercise that matches your interests. That's what will keep you inspired to move your body, and that's the focus in living a healthier, more fit life.
Hopefully these seven tips have inspired you to invest in your highest potential. You deserve to feel happy and comfortable in your body. Becoming healthier plays a serious role in that goal, but because we've lived toxic lives for so long, it can sometimes feel like we're digging ourselves out of the pit. Utilize these tips, stay committed, and know that you are worth it – whatever stage you're on!