You know what I hate? Exercise. You know what I love? Joyful movement. And here's the difference: Exercise is firm, regimented, and doesn't actually care how you're feeling that day. It employs phrases like "no pain, no gain" and "just do it" to push you past your personal limits. And it means well, because exercise is good for your heart and makes you stronger and faster. Some people really enjoy exercise and having a training schedule and that's okay too, because it's all about what truly sets your heart on fire. But to me, exercise is a distant acquaintance that you nod to on the street and automatically reply "fine" to when asked "how are you?"
Then there's joyful movement - the friend that grabs your hand and says "But how are you really?" after you say "fine." The difference is the lack of a rigid, day-by-day plan and the huge amount of listening to your body that is done. Which isn't to say that an exercise plan doesn't allow a certain amount of listening to your body, but there's something so refreshing about thinking, "I sat a lot today and my body is craving movement. I'm a little sore from moving apartments, so a walk and a yoga video sound great."
DISCOVERING WHAT MOVEMENT IS JOYFUL FOR YOU
Two words: try everything. And then sing this song in your head while you do it.
Just kidding about that song thing, but really - if your doctor says it's okay/you're cleared for movement/it feels right, trying all the things is such a fun way to make discoveries. I used to think all you could do at the gym was a combination of a cardio machine + weight machines, but having a friend teach me how to use the free weights/heavy weights was an eye opener for me! Then I thought, if this is fun, what else am I missing out on?
So, here's a list (that is by no means comprehensive) of different kinds of movement to try!
MOVEMENT EXPLORATION OPTIONS
My absolute favorite form of motion for a full year was Barre3, a combination of pilates, yoga, and ballet barre. I especially love the body positivity vibes I get from the instructors (in person and online!) when they say things like "Here's what to do if this doesn't feel good in your body" and "Remember that your body is different every day, so it's okay to adapt along with that." Here's a free class online or the link to the full online workout library (the subscription is SO worth it if you love this - not sponsored, just a great value!).
I will say, yoga is one of the kinds of movement that feels best in an actual class rather than on my own. I went to an intermediate class with a friend over the summer and it was so nice to be surrounded by people who were also centered on loving and moving their bodies for an hour! For at home, I love Yoga With Adriene on YouTube! Here's a 15-minute feel-good flow.
I've never tried Pilates in person ($$$) but The Balanced Life Pilates with Robin Long is a great Youtube channel for equipment-free pilates options! I'll open a quick 10-minute pilates flow video for when I need to move but am feeling cozy and lazy at the same time (anyone else get that feeling?). Here's my current fave.
Who can resist a tried-and-true (and FREE) favorite like taking a stroll? I usually bring Drew along if I feel like walking so we can chat, but a podcast works just as well if he's not around! Here's one that will give you all the food positive vibes.
I bought a kettlebell shortly after moving in with Drew and it has been such a satisfying way to enjoy a sweaty workout at home! Sometimes I want slow stretching, and sometimes I want my heart to pound - and this workout definitely makes it happen.
We live in the mountains of Idaho and hiking trails are plentiful and beautiful! AllTrails is great for finding a path, or just googling around works too! If you're ever in the Tetons, we liked this Jenny Lake hike - lots of milage but relatively flat so it's not too hard on the legs.
I haven't swam (swum?) in a while, I’ve seen so many snaps of swimming lately have looked so good that I'm pondering a trip to an indoor pool...or maybe just a hot tub. ;) I love how weightless swimming makes me feel, and it's so easy on the body! Basically a spa day plus a workout in one.