Despite strong evidence that exercise does not actually lead to sustained weight loss, the majority of us operate under the illusion that it does. In fact, many researchers call it downright “useless” when it comes to losing weight. The reasons for this lie in a combination of the increased hunger intense exercise creates and our bodies’ set points.
If you’re starting to sweat just thinking about that, don’t despair – exercise has many other benefits outside of reducing the number on the scale.
In fact, if we can divorce exercise from weight loss, we may be more likely to engage in it regularly.
You see, when you’re exercising to lose weight, and then you don’t, you become frustrated and disenchanted with the whole process. You’re more likely to resent exercise while you’re doing it and to give up on it more easily if you don’t see results on the scale.
And exercising mindfully? Forget it.
The tragedy is that so many of us have come to loathe exercise.
Even many who do it regularly don’t enjoy it, mainly because they associate it with repeated failures (to do something that our bodies are not designed to do, mind you). They aren’t in touch with the fact that movement also has incredible physical and emotional benefits, like reducing blood pressure, improving mood, boosting energy, and even improving learning.
The amazing thing is that these benefits don’t just come from running on a treadmill.
There are thousands of ways to move your body that take the focus off numbers and put it back on helping you develop a solid relationship with your body. Here are 9!
9 ways to love moving your body
1. Go to a playground
Spend an hour or so at a playground and, trust me, you’ll be worn out. Whether you’re chasing around a small child or just hanging by yourself on the monkey bars or swings, you’ll be moving your body and connecting to your inner child.
2. Start a yoga practice
For me, yoga is all about balance – physically, mentally, and emotionally. It feels amazing to move your body in new ways, meanwhile connecting with your breath, your heart, and your deepest intentions.
3. Try Hula Hooping!
The vibrant Mara from Medicinal Marzipan introduced me to this idea a couple years ago. You can’t help but have fun just watching her. You’ll definitely want to give it a try.
4. Take a dance class
Whether it’s tango, tap, or Zumba, taking a dance class is a fun way to connect with others and get your body moving to the music. Find a beginner class and grab a partner if it makes you feel more comfortable.
5. Schedule walks with friends
Speaking of companions, walks with friends are great ways to get your blood flowing while catching up on the all the latest gossip. You get the benefits of both moving and connecting, both of which are associated with healthier bodies and minds.
6. Play in the pool
To me, swimming laps seems like torture. Bringing out the noodle, kickboards, and diving for quarters? Now that’s fun!
8. Slip and Slide, Anyone?
One of my personal favorite activities of youth, the slip n’ slide can be just as fun once you’re all grown up. While it may a recipe for injury, take it easy and you’ll find yourself laughing harder than you have in a while.
9. Join a league
Sports leagues are great ways to meet new people and try out a sport in a non-competitive environment (Okay, so some leagues are pretty competitive. Join those if you’re a more serious player.). Hop online to find a volleyball, soccer, kickball, or basketball league.
Which of these activities have you tried? What would you add for fun ways to move your body?
P.S. Trying to make exercise a habit? This will help – and it’s free!