This is not a just a body. The body is a vehicle for the best version of self. But in our culture of thin is everything the actual point of physical fitness is really lost. We end up falling off the self-care train for lots of reasons: new babies, injury, time constraints. Eventually, though, we experience some kind of “wake-up” like weight gain, pain, or a medical condition. But this isn’t just about a good body or body image.
Physical movement puts us on a fast track to other positive gains and experiences. Time is available for all the things we deem a priority and self-care should be near the very top of the list. Knowing that every day is different, and different options are available for every scenario, we set ourselves up for success. Aiming for intermittent extended exercise is great – perhaps the day can start with a long walk, then catch a fitness class, and finish the evening with a family bike ride. Those days feel amazing. But three or more hours of exercise a day is not practical for the young family. Many days, 30-60 minutes might be doable for cardio, playing outside with the kids, or a yoga video. Of course, there will be many days in a young family when 10 minutes here or there is the reality. (Villeau’s gotcha there – check out the fitness section.) Find a few minutes outside of the 10 minute exercise to breathe and find silence. Then, inside of 20 minutes,the body, mind, and spirit have all been addressed. No doubt, when the body is better, we are better in every way – more patient, more centered, and more engaged.
Beyond the Body
The body is a critical vehicle for experiencing life fully, but the mind is also very hard at work. One amazing part of exercising is experiencing flow in thought. When the mind is really clear, the truth of our self and dreams are revealed. This is where the next great business idea might come to mind or where a life changing realization can be seen clearly for the first time. It is not to be taken lightly.
Finally, exercise allows us a clear lens to see the way we speak to and treat ourselves. When exercise feels hard – like muscles burning or feeling short of breath – we might say, “this is so hard. I can’t do it.” We then have the chance to watch ourselves say that and correct it. Instead, we might say, “I’ve got this. Imagine how good it is going to feel when I get to the finish line.” Then picture it happening and everything is changed.
Fitness is an Opportunity
Enhancing our physical fitness is an opportunity in many ways. It is an opportunity to treat ourselves with kindness and respect. It’s a chance to be physically strong and prepared for what might come our way. Moving our bodies gives us strength much greater than just lifting weight. The opportunity to experience the self in a complete way, which we then can bring into our family, is worth every sweaty minute.
Cole is a wife and mom of three. She has been a Registered Dietitian since 2005. Her journey through self-mastery and anchoring herself in her family has been the most important and on-going practice of her life. Cole loves being active with her family, yoga, cooking, and spending time in nature.