What If Movement Needed to Feel Good in Order to Be Healthy?

What If Movement Needed to Feel Good in Order to Be Healthy?

In this culture, “movement should feel good” is not what we’re typically brought up to think. Yes, there’s lip service given to the idea that movement should be enjoyed, but mostly, it’s portrayed as an obligation we owe ourselves and others. The focus is frequently on how many calories are being burned or what kind of aesthetic changes the exercise might bring about, rather than on whether exercise is easy enough on the body to be sustainable, whether it’s fun, whether it feels good regardless of what effect it might have on body shape or size.

So in this installment of the Dance Life blog, I ask you, how would your life be different if you believed not only that movement should feel good, but that it needed to feel good in order to be healthy?

Would you have chosen to try a new sport or movement style? Would you have chosen not to? Would you have done less movement, or more of a different kind of movement? Would you push to get out of bed after not having enough sleep to hit the gym? Would you have tried an activity that previously felt “off-limits” due to how your body looked?

What if instead of pouring your energy into changing your body or even into trying to love your body more, you poured your energy into every other aspect of your life?

How would you spend your time? What kind of movement would you bring into or take out of your life?

Instead of jogging on pavement, I would have spent more time with my friends, running like a deer in the woods. I would have spent more time seriously enjoying swimming and the company I was with, instead of being preoccupied by what I looked like in my bathing suit and wondering what kind of judgments people had about me. I would have listened to my body when it said, “high-intensity workouts make me feel like garbage” and “I need a break” instead of calling myself lazy and undisciplined and pushing through anyway. I would have spent less money on fitness equipment and memberships and more money on things I love, like taking trips with my partner to go on remote woodland hikes.

As the article linked here and much research suggests, bodies absorb many more nutrients when eating something enjoyable. While I don’t have an article or a study to back this up, I’m certain the same is true about movement- the more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more benefits you’ll reap from it.

Sound off in the comments below- how would you have done things differently in the past? What does “movement that feels good” look like for you now?