I have lately observed that there are certain times when my exercise rhythm is off or non-existent, and when I get so caught up in the ‘busyness’ of my day and the many things that I feel I’m responsible for or that need completing (ie. work, family etc.), that my exercise routine seems to be one of the first things that gets neglected.
I noticed that the busier I was, the more I was neglecting my exercise rhythm and routine… and the longer the gaps were between exercising. To add to this, I was also feeling more tired – which seemed to exacerbate the desire to even do any exercise in the first place, even if I did have time!
I was recently offered the opportunity to join a 4 week online exercise program offered by Danielle Pirera (Re-Connect Exercise), and even though I’ve enjoyed attending these classes in the past, my first response was “I haven’t got time!” There was no pressure to commit either way, however I was presented with the possibility that the exercise classes would actually be an opportunity to support me with everything else I was doing. I could feel that deep down this was absolutely true and that neglecting my exercise rhythm was neither feeling right nor supporting me in my day, so it became an easy choice to join the online program and make a specific commitment to completing one 45 min exercise group class each week.
What I have found most supportive is that the exercise program is presented in a way that encourages connection with my body – feeling how I want to exercise on each particular day – which I’ve found varies from week to week.
The exercise program has not been about doing the exercises a certain way, at a certain pace or level of intensity or how many reps or even doing the exercise the same way as Danielle, the presenter. In fact I’ve felt encouraged to simply feel my body moving, and to feel what’s right in every exercise. Led by example, the focus has not been on the technique of the exercise, but simply staying connected to my body and the quality of the movements.
In this, I’m learning more and more that exercise is not about what I do or how many or for how long, but ‘how’ I do it. And the other thing I’m learning is to not make my exercise routine so serious (!) …. to keep it light and playful.
With each exercise group I’ve felt how important it is to do what feels right for me in that particular session. By being encouraged to focus on this and committing to the exercise group every week, I’ve also found that my exercise rhythm outside of the classes is much more accessible and realistic. For example, if I had felt pressured or an expectation that I had to do ½ hour’s exercise every day, I would probably consider skipping exercise altogether! However for me, committing to 10-15 minutes, 2 times a week is something that is manageable and a great place for me to start.
This has also helped me realise that it’s the commitment and connection to myself that’s important as the foundation for exercise, not necessarily the amount of time spent.
I have found these exercise groups provide a true inspiration of a connected way of exercising, supported by the fact that they are taught by example. For example, it’s not uncommon for Danielle to express that her body feels a bit stiff and sore on that particular day and that she is going to move a little slower or not stretch so high, while at the same time providing support and suggestions for others to move faster or make their movements larger if that’s what they feel in their body.
In moments like these, I am being offered the opportunity and inspiration to honour my own body in exactly the same way, whether it’s to take the exercise more gently or increase to an intensity I feel is right for me. Exercising this way is a totally different way of exercising than I have ever experienced before. To have a fitness trainer teach and present this way – in a way that honours her own body – is not only unheard of, but is deeply inspiring as a true way to exercise.
I am still establishing the depth of the connection with my body, but am now starting to feel more of a quality and presence in my exercise routine and exercise rhythm.
With each exercise class I am learning how important it is to honour what I feel in my body, and not to exercise according to a set structure, technique or time frame or with an outcome of achieving a set result.
As I commit to my exercise rhythm I am experiencing more and more how this supports me in all of the other things I need to do in a day. I have more energy and am feeling less tired, supported by my exercise routine that is teaching me to connect to my body and be more present with Me.
By Angela Perin, aged 48, Brisbane