At this point, we all know the purpose of exercise is to improve our physical health through activities that strengthens our bodies. As time has passed, our ability to exercise with greater efficiency has been enhanced as our understanding of how and why exercise produces health in our bodies has expanded. This enhancement has produced our current exercise procedures that are designed to help maximize our efforts and therefore hasten our results.
As a fitness professional with over ten years in the health field, I believe the science of exercise has created another worrisome (and unnecessary) checklist to add to our already overly burdened lives.
Now, the average health enthusiast spends a great deal of their energy and time concerned with: counting calories, whether this exercise is the best exercise, what is the right number of reps and sets, and how can I get the maximum exercise benefits in the least amount of time.
Of course, let's not forget that a great many of us are motivated to not only exercise for health reasons but also because of the fear of being overweight, the fear of not fitting in and the fear of not looking good.
Additionally, exercise itself is a physical stress. The traditional no pain, no gain philosophy is based upon pushing ourselves past our physical comfort zones in order to decrease body fat while increasing lean muscle mass. The very nature of this philosophy produces more physical discomfort than it does physical pleasure.
A simple health rule is that painful experiences cause our bodies to close down (leading to aches, pains and eventually dis-ease) while pleasurable experiences helps the body to open improving balance and health.
With all this stress associated with exercise I believe our focus has shifted from improving the way we use and live in our bodies to worrying if we are exercising correctly. This has left us little room to enjoy this process of getting to know our bodies better.
However, this philosophy may not be healthy for you if:
Body and mind associations are very powerful and long lasting. How you have digested past body experiences dictates your current body image. Positive life experiences created positive body images while negative life experiences created negative body images.
My solution is to begin consciously practicing moving your body in ways that produce more freedom. Freedom feels good and causes us to open to ourselves. It will deepen the connection between your body and mind. This creates a positive pleasurable mental association between your physicality and your body.
The more you reinforce this association will eventually deepen the amount of balance, health and peace you have in your life. I believe the key to this situation is adding two elements to your exercise routine: