Should you change your approach to exercise in 2020? The concept of intuitive eating, created by dieticians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, is rapidly gaining traction.
One element of this approach is intuitive exercise, which means tuning into your preferences and bodily cues to inform your physical activity choices. Intuitive exercise will change the way you work out forever, but first let's look at how you can make this work for you?
We chat to Emma Green who is one of our MoveGB Ambassadors. She's also a certified personal trainer, freelance writer and online fitness coach with a PhD in Health Psychology! Emma has a wealth of knowledge about how to build a healthy relationship with food, exercise and your body without sacrificing the fun!
How intuitive exercise will change the way you work out forever
Specificity vs Flexibility
Whenever you head to Instagram, Facebook or open a magazine, messages about the most optimal type of exercise are constant. As a result, you can feel easily pressured into following very prescriptive fitness routines, regardless of whether you enjoy them.
Although there are times when you might need a specific training plan (like if you’re training for a race), for general health and fitness goals, you have a lot more options than you might think. There are so many different types of exercise out there to try, all of which offer a huge number of benefits.
Here are just a few:
- Improved sleep
- Lower stress levels
- More energy
- Greater concentration
- Stronger bones
- Reduced risk of illness
- Improved flexibility and balance
Ask yourself: what kind of exercise do you love doing? If you do not know yet, then platforms like MoveGB allow you to try a variety of classes to discover what makes you tick and keeps you motivated.
Tuning in to your body
Our bodies are dynamic systems, which means that their needs are constantly shifting. One day you might have lots of energy so might be bursting to go for a run. Another day you might feel tired and a gentle yoga class would be a better fit.
It’s important to tune into how your body feels, physically and mentally. Emotional stress can take its toll and even if your body feels okay physically, you might not have the mental energy for a tough workout and that’s totally okay.
Tuning into what your body really wants is such a valuable skill. It not only means that the exercise you choose will be more enjoyable but it will also lower your risk of injury as you won’t be pushing your body when you need to back off.
This mindfulness will start to translate into other areas of your life too and you’ll find yourself more in touch with what you’re thinking and feeling at any given time. It takes a lot of practice to get there but it is possible.
For the next 30 days, keep a mindfulness diary and jot down how exercise makes you feel. You’ll start seeing patterns that will help you progressing in your day-to-day experience.
Keeping the big picture in mind
Our bodies adapt to the exercise that we do, which is a long-term process. You don’t gain or lose fitness from one workout. This is good news! It means that you don’t have to be constantly pushing yourself to make progress (in fact your body actually gains the benefits from exercise when you’re resting).
You can take a light day or total rest day if you need it, safe in the knowledge that you are still getting closer to your goals. Fitness offers many benefits but it is important to remember that there is so much more to life. You don’t want to be turning down precious time with friends or family because of your fitness regime.
Having flexibility in your approach allows for fitness to enhance your wellbeing, rather than compromising it. Take the time today to write one big goal for your 2020 schedule. What would you like to achieve before the end of this year? Is it a specific move, a PB, or for example 364 classes on MoveGB (fellow ambassador Suzanne clocked 364 last year!).
Remember there is a wide range of activities available through MoveGB (twerk class anyone?) - I personally can see the benefit of intuitive exercise as I have recommended it to many of my clients so they can try out lots of different exercise types to see what is a good fit for them.
Find out more about Emma Green over on her blog https://www.funfoodandfitness.co.uk and be sure to check her Instagram out!