Do you remember being a kid and spontaneously bursting into a run because you came upon an open field? I remember the feeling well and found myself increasingly wanting to get back to moving just because it feels good. We spend so much time in school where moving is trained out of us. Being still is being good, so we force our bodies to stop moving. Then as we get older we get messages from all around us – and from our bodies – that we aren’t moving enough. When we find out that being still is not healthy then moving is the next thing we are forcing our bodies to do! I’ve been determined to rediscover that movement instinct and get back to the joy of moving.
That wake-up call
One of the benefits of running into health challenges early in life (in my case around 27 years old) is that you get a wake-up call about how much you’ve taken your wellbeing for granted. I was someone who was increasingly burning the candle at both ends. I worked at least one job while at the same time was a college student. At one point, I was working full-time with a 90-minute commute and had a full-time student course load. It was nuts and not surprisingly I was sick with a fever for days after finals. Even when I tried to work part-time, I ended up working extra hours. Sitting at a desk, working through breaks powered by coffee had become the norm for me.
Movement can be healing
There were so many lessons about self-care for me to learn but one that has become really important to me is how crucial movement is to how our body functions. Over the years I’ve explored different kinds of exercise with walking and dance being constant favorites. I have dealt with overdoing my return to an active lifestyle and healing the injuries that set me back. When I discovered BodyGroove workouts last year, I loved the focus on modifying them – doing what is best for your body. I was determined to actually follow the prompts and resist the urge to push myself. There are also messages about enjoying the dance moves and doing it your way. Because of what I had learned in the past, I was now really listening.
Make it a habit
I started out with some of the easiest workouts (Young at Heart) before exploring ones that might tempt me to push too hard. It worked out great that I’d been enjoying the workouts for a few months when the 30 Day Challenge was launched because I was ready to do more by then. Along the way, I bookmarked favorites for when my motivation was lagging. I also made a list in Evernote with a few notes so I could pick a workout to match my mood. The House Party series is my go-to on a pandemic Friday night. In general, I made a routine out of doing the five Fit series workouts as my Mon-Fri morning workout. It gave me something to do without having to think about it and I could always switch it up to a different one if I felt like it.
You can’t get it wrong
I’ll admit when I first heard the encouraging messages from the workout leaders, I had to resist that critical character in my head doing an internal eye roll. After a couple of months of doing the BodyGroove workouts, I was surprised to find myself humming and feeling like dancing as I pushed a grocery cart down the aisle. I may have been seen dancing around a local labyrinth as well. It’s been wonderful to just dance for the joy of it. If you decide to try these workouts, ignore any voice inside that is worried about getting it right or looking foolish. Listen to what they are saying and focus on relaxing into the movements. I still love it when BodyGroove creator Misty Tripoli ends one of my favorite segments with “Now that’s a party in your body!”
If you are feeling lonely as so many are during the pandemic, it may be easy to focus on wishing you were attending the workout in person, but let the friendly faces in the videos be your community for now (and join the Facebook group). Also if you are like me and haven’t felt confident dancing in a long time (if ever), enjoy the freedom of dancing when no one is watching. Having learned the importance of self-compassion, I pay more attention to how I talk to myself. When the leader says to high-five a friend if you brought one with you – instead of choosing to be sad about doing the video at home alone – I always give myself a high-five with a grin and answer, “I did – myself!” 😉 🙌🏼