Movement. Action. Exercise. Whatever you want to call it, it all boils down to the same thing, and that’s the need to move that sexy bod of yours! And as I was moving my bod along a steady 12km track yesterday (which my quads have seriously not forgiven me for yet) I was kinda thinking about what possesses people to do crazy challenges like that. Or at least, what possesses me to do crazy challenges like that (I was thinking this around the 7 or 8km mark when motivation was starting to wain and I was questioning my motives a little. Can you tell?).
Well it’s definitely not the competition or the glory of winning. I am so not fast enough to worry about whether I might beat anyone, the closest I get to that is to hope that there might be just as many people behind me as there are in front! So I know I’ll never win, I know I won’t be getting a prize, and half the time I go to these events by myself so I know there won’t be anyone at the finish line to congratulate me either (that sounds a lot sadder than it actually is). But I still love it! So what’s the drawing card?
I view my body as my home. This is the place where I live, and like any home, if I take care of it, it will take care of me in return. And I really want my home to stick around for a long time, so I’m trying to look after it the best I can. But after a bit of thinking yesterday I decided, yeah that’s important, but is it the most important reason for why I exercise? It is the biggest motive to get my butt to the starting line?
No, it’s not. It’s a good reason, a great one and a major motivator, but not the deciding factor.
Exercising gives me a chance to connect with my body. Like, really connect. Because if you stop and listen closely enough, your body is actually trying to tell you things all the time. A little niggle here, a twitch there, some pain over there. Those things are your body’s way of communicating with you, but in this day and age it seems that we just don’t listen anymore! You feel pain, you take a painkiller. You start to feel sick, you take a pill and keep going. But all you’re really doing is silencing the voice and the message your body is trying to get through to you.
So when I exercise it’s like a bonding experience between my mental, emotional and physical bodies. I try to stop the mental voice just long enough that I can hear my physical voice coming through, and yeah, that’s easier said than done sometimes. “This is hard, this hurts, let’s stop! No, I’ve got more energy left in me, let’s keep moving!” I pay close attention to different parts of my body. Can I feel something that’s not quite right anywhere? Am I feeling like everything is flowing properly and I’m functioning the way I should be? If I feel something isn’t quite right, I focus on that for a while. I’ll move my posture, I’ll change my balance, I’ll tense a different muscle and see if it makes a difference.
It sounds crazy but I love it! I learn so much about myself and how I’m functioning in these quiet moments when I’m just breathing and moving. I get the same feeling whether I’m at the gym, in the yoga studio, or running down the road, it doesn’t matter.
So that’s what I’m in it for, I’m in it to create and nurture that connection between me and my physical self. The health bonuses are just a really awesome side-effect.
What are you in it for?
With love and learning to listen,