Movement: The Ultimate Form of Self-Care
The fact that movement is extremely vital to our physical and mental health isn’t exactly groundbreaking news.
These days, there’s articles aplenty outlining scientific-based evidence that demonstrates exercise is a positive influence on our overall wellbeing and longevity.
I’ve been involved in sports since the tender age of 4, so I’m well-accustomed to the benefits of movement. Between playing soccer and basketball for 9 years and eventually tennis full-time at age 13 and representing the University of California, Santa Barbara, I have long been developing my passion for movement and the myriad of benefits this form of self-care contains.
In my youth, sports were always my preferred mode of childlike abandon, friendship building, and most importantly, FUN. I wasn’t concerned about being “fit,” burning calories, or a number on the scale. I understood on a fundamental level that playing sports was good for my body and helped me be healthy, but my participation in sports was simple: I was merely a young girl kicking a muddy ball around a field with my friends, having the time of my life. Little did I know this was forming the foundation for my love of movement in adulthood as well.
Movement Is Medicine
These days, exercise, which I often refer to as medicine, is one of a few things that totally colors my world. If I’m stressed out, I move. When I need an energy or mood boost, I move. If I want to feel good in my skin and the body I’m in, I move. When I simply want to get some endorphins firing, I move. Sweat is gold in my book. It makes me… well… ME. When I feel the blood coursing through my veins mid-workout, heart beating strong, and pushing myself for just one more push up, one more rep, one more ounce of sweat, I know I am not only taking care of myself in that moment, but in the long-term. And simply enough, I feel GOOD.
Truthfully, I want every single person to know this feeling, and know it consistently. Surely, none of us have motivation to workout every single time, but movement is a gift, investment in oneself, and the highest form of self-care (besides nutrition and how we fuel our bodies). Workouts need not be elaborate, and they certainly don’t have to be a chore.
Here are three tips that have helped me jumpstart a fitness routine that is not only enjoyable, but also sustainable:
1. Seek a Mode of Movement that Speaks to You and Partake in it Regularly
It is absolutely worth the effort of sampling different forms of exercise to find one that speaks to you. Movement can obviously take so many forms: running, kayaking, hiking, Zumba, yoga, weightlifting, the list goes on. The most important aspect is that it’s something you find particularly enjoy. Seek this tirelessly and I can guarantee you will find what’s meant to find you.
2. Find What Motivates You and Set Goals Accordingly
Just as is true in any other sector of life, setting goals adds a layer of accountability and motivation to anything we set out to accomplish. While your goal certainly doesn’t have to be bench pressing 300 pounds, setting goals motivates us to move and simultaneously makes it purposeful. Aim to walk each morning, swim 20 laps in the pool, hike for 5 miles, or simply move your body for 20 minutes each day. This varies from person to person, and your goals, however big or small, are yours to own and conquer.
3. Use Movement to Propel Other Areas of Your Life
For me, there is nothing like starting my day with a workout. I wake at 5AM and workout for an hour most days. This leaves me feeling energized, strong, and ALIVE. I even experience a higher quality of sleep. All of these reasons, among many more, factor into my motivation to workout. I am better prepared to be productive and conquer the day. This factors into my workflow, relationships, and my everyday life. I am truly at my best when I workout, and as a result, can offer my best to myself, my work, and those around me.
The Best Thing You’ll Ever Invest in Is YOU
Ultimately, the above list is what always keeps me coming back for more. I enjoy the training I do, the people I do it with, and how often I get to do it. It is something I always look forward to penciling in each week.
I’ve long believed that our bodies are our sanctuary and we should treat them as such, and while this isn’t always easy, movement is not meant to be an over-complicated mess or pain. While none of us will always have motivation to workout, it’s our duty to explore methods of working out that we not only enjoy, but look forward to. This increases the chances we’ll partake in exercise frequently and reap the benefits.
And as the old adage rings true time and time again: the best thing you’ll ever invest in is yourself, and movement can be part of that investment.
This article was written by our very own Megan Carter. Learn more about Megan here.