You can learn a lot from watching children play. I don't have my own kids, but when I get the chance to be around children I am always inspired by their natural desire to move, play and simply enjoy the moment. Unfortunately, as adults we seem to lose those desires. We take everything so seriously that we forget the importance and benefits of play. So often I see women come to my club soley focused on how many calories they can burn or what type of results (weight, size, etc) they can see from our program that they miss out on experiencing the fun and empowerment of boxing. (though I am happy to say most eventually shift their focus and keep punching just because it feels good)
This past Friday our club got the opportunity to do a demo at a local elementary school fundraiser. The event was all about being active and was based on the simple act of walking. Yep just walking. And these kids were awesome! Their excitement about just getting to be free to move, walk, dance to the music, play around with us and punch, and break boards with the karate group was amazing. They didn't care if they looked silly, couldn't do things perfectly, whether they burned calories, if they did enough, or if anyone was watching them. They just wanted to move and try things.
We need to take a chapter out of their book when it comes to exercise. Exercising because moving your body a certain way feels good and makes you happy is the number one reason you should be doing it. We need to stop giving a shit how many damn calories we burn and start enjoying the activity we are doing. Focusing on calories burned takes you away from the pure enjoyment of movement. Focusing on losing weight or toning up takes away from taking the time needed to get the activity right and mastering the art of your athlete endeavor.
If you can get past caring about the results a certain type of exercise will have on your body you will find more health, happiness, AND activity in your life. Get lost in the moment and lose track of time with your exercise. Be fully present when you are moving your body. Enjoy the movement experience.
Once exercise becomes a punishment or a chore you will most likely hit a point where you stop doing it. You don't love it anymore, you are bored, you aren't "seeing results", you are sick of beating your body up, and so on will eventually surface after some time and result in a swift exit away from your exercise routine. To prevent that from happening, do the activity you love and the one that makes you feel good both mentally and physically. It's easier to stick with something you love verses something you hate.
For me I can't imagine my life without lifting, I love it... it's my thang. Boxing is a great release for me when I desire that type of movement and sometimes I simply love walking. I try to stay intune with my body and mind and give myself what I need verses what I have to in order to see a certain result. My focus is all about feeling the results not seeing results...feeling strong, feeling energized, feeling relaxed, feeling flexible and feeling healthy.
Another great example of this in my own life was just this morning. My boyfriend and I were planning to go for a run because we are doing the Warrior Dash in less than a month and are feeling obligated to prepare. We got out the door walked down the block to warm up and we both said "I don't feel like running". He suggested we go back and get Champ (my dog our KO Mascot) and go for a walk. It was a brillant idea! We walked, we talked, enjoy the weather, and Champ couldn't have been a happier boy! It was just what we needed. We were both still a little sore and run down from our lifting session on Saturday and some manual labor we both had done over the weekend (cleaning and moving) and running just would have made us feel worse. Some people may think "walking isn't enough" or that we aren't movtivated, but truthfully walking is enough, walking is what we needed, walking made us feel great and we are motivated because we choose to do something active that felt good. No we weren't motivated by calories, body size and the upcoming event because at the end of the day all that matters is moving and being healthy and happy!
So get inspired by those kids playing on the playground, those teenagers dancing around to music or your dog chasing a ball or squirrel! Move because it makes you feel good! Move because you want to be healthy and happy! Move because it's fun and having fun is an important part of life!