Perhaps the only thing more numerous than the types of workouts available are the excuses to not do them. However, if you are trying to decide whether or not to workout today, you’ve already gone wrong.
The choice shouldn’t even exist. The decision should be made.
You are going to show up.
Because your body shows up for you. Again and again.
Every. Damn. Day.
Your body never says to you, “Sorry, I had another obligation pop-up. I can’t help you digest, breathe, move, think, and feel right now.” What gives you the audacity to think you can treat your body like an afterthought.
Don’t shortchange your body.
Your Body Deserves as Much Attention as Other Parts of Your Life
Think about the amount of time and energy you put into your relationships with family, friends, or colleagues? Your relationship to your body never goes away. It’s here all the time. How much time do you invest in it?
Think about the amount of time you put into your home: cleaning, decorating, organizing, fixing, etc. Your body is your primary home. How much time do you invest in it?
Think about the amount of time you put into your job. You work hard and show up because it provides income. Yet no amount of money can replace a body that worn-down and dysfunctional. Why not invest as much time into your physicality as your work?
The fact that our body is the ubiquitous common denominator of all our experiences makes it so prone to neglect. We habituate and take it for granted. Our bodies have been there for so long, so we assume they will always be there, pretty much as they are today. As such, attention to our body fades to the background, and we forget to appreciate its immense value.
You Body Needs Leadership. Are You Ready to Lead?
Can your body rely upon you?
Can your body trust that you will take care of it?
What your body needs is someone who shows up with support regardless of how they feel — Your body needs a leader.
A leader takes responsibility for what is happening around them and creating what happens next. Becoming a leader is about listening to your body, being receptive to what will restore balance, and having the wisdom to know what type of quiet, diet, and movement will be most nourishing and fulfilling.
Sometimes your body may be calling for a vigorous, dynamic workout; other times something more gentle may be needed. Remember that forcing your body into movement that isn’t right for you today can be just as imbalancing as denying it movement altogether. Don’t boss your body around. Become a trustworthy leader.
Take Yourself from Surviving to Thriving by Nurturing Your Nature
Breathing, standing, and walking may be woven into our genetic blueprint, but nature can only take us so far. We need to nurture our bodies with stimulating experiences and engaging environments or else our physical competence will remain arrested at a grade-school level. Sure, our bodies can survive on the bare minimum, but they will never reach their potential without practice.
Exposing your body to new challenges and moving it in different ways turns on genes that create new neural connections. In fact, your brain exists because evolution needed a central command center to organize movement. If you want to be smarter, consider how much you are stimulating your body with movement. Are you engaging your body beyond a few stereotyped walking and sitting motions throughout your day? Think of daily movement as a practice in growing your brain.
Start With Scheduling
Make some kind of physical practice a prescheduled, non-negotiable, and ultimately enjoyable part of your day. I suggest starting by blocking off time in your calendar as “body time,” “physical training,” “movement,” “body maintenance,” or whatever you like.
It doesn’t always have to be rigorous exercise, but it does need to be intentional movement above and beyond your daily physical activity. Start with a small planned time, and then work on infusing your lifestyle with this practice of living in, with, and through your body. It is as vital to your day as eating, breathing, and sleeping.
So adjust your calendar repeat settings to “Daily.” Ends, “Never.”
Send yourself an invite. Commit to showing up regardless. It is your obligation and duty.
You Will Face Internal Resistance
Yes, this takes constant work.
Yes, it can feel uncomfortable at times.
Yes, it may seem overwhelming or uninteresting.
Nonetheless, you must show up. Because the moment your body doesn’t show up for you…You’re gone!
Exercise isn’t an option. Deciding whether or not to exercise is the wrong question. Make a regular commitment to just show up.
Your body is the hardest working, most dependable friend you’ll ever have. Your body does things for you in ways you can’t even imagine. Be grateful for the trillions of cells that are willing to cooperate to keep you alive and kicking. Don’t abuse them.
Invest in your body because it pays incredible dividends. Think about the amount of time, money and energy you put into other big domains in your life (i.e. work, family, leisure, etc). Now compare that with the amount of time you invest in your body. Are you investing wisely?
Exhibit some leadership when it comes to your body. Listen and learn. Be a champion of your body’s health, not a negligent boss trying to squeeze every last ounce of energy until the system breaks down.
Moving your body with intention and structure will build you a better brain. Exercise releases brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is essential for maintaining healthy neurons and creating new ones. Move your muscles to keep your brain healthy.
Schedule it and protect it as if your life depends on it. Because It does.
~ Jeff Siegel
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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