As we ring in another New Year and enjoy our mild Florida winter, it is a good time to reassess the status of our exercise enjoyment. As the seasons change, so should your fitness activities. Sticking to a rigid exercise routine regardless of how your body feels can tank your mood, cause physical malaise and plateau results. The physical needs of your body not only change over time, but they also change on a daily basis. Learning how to adapt your fitness pursuits to your daily barometer is referred to as exercising intuitively. Embracing a more intuitive approach to exercise can increase joy and effectiveness in your fitness pursuits.
People often have an “all or nothing” approach to exercise. They join a gym, establish a routine and then weaponize that routine as a punitive countermeasure to overindulgence. Over time, this militant approach will sap joy, causing interest to wane and results to plateau. As exercise adherence falters, angst and guilt increase. This scenario can be avoided by developing a healthier attitude towards exercise and embracing all forms of physical activity as a viable workout. Taking this approach would provide your body with essential variety, recovery and injury prevention.
Intuitive fitness is all about listening to your body and participating in exercise activities that match how you feel on that day. Intense aquatic aerobics may not be what your body needs on a day when you wake up tired and sore. Maybe you need to make a cup of coffee, stay home and do some gentle stretching, yoga or meditation. Perhaps a walk outside in the sunshine might be a better choice. Exercising intuitively is about interpreting what your body, mind and soul need on that day. It doesn’t matter what you choose. All exercise is good as long as you honor your body.
Take an intuitive leap of faith and stop stressing and obsessing about sticking to your planned routine. Instead, perform a mental body scan and choose an exercise activity that reflects your mood, stamina and physicality. Shifting away from a mentality of “must do” to a mindset of “can do” will do wonders for restoring joy into your exercise routine.
Mark Grevelding is the founder of PoolFit, a fitness app and website that includes over 115 water fitness & in-home workouts suitable for older adults.