If you know us at Simply Nutrition, you know we are all about intuitive eating and rebuilding and reestablishing your relationship with your body. Intuitive eating gets a lot of spotlight in our practice, but another intuitive relationship we love to work with clients on is intuitive movement. What is intuitive movement? We thought you might ask! Registered Dietitian Rachael Hartley describes intuitive movement as follows:
“Intuitive movement is the practice of connecting with your body and it’s internal cues and using that to determine what type of movement, how long, and the intensity you’d like to engage in. It also incorporates mindfulness, by being present in whatever movement you choose to do.”
Isn’t this just exercise? Well yes and no, intuitive movement can be “exercise”, things like working out at the gym, running, or group fitness classes, but it also can be things you might not consider to be “exercise” like taking your dog for a walk, playing with your kids or friends, swimming in the ocean, or even rollerblading! The idea behind intuitive movement is paying attention to what your body is needing in the moment and giving yourself permission to honor it.
Some of Our Favorite Tips for Being an Intuitive Mover:
Engage in activities you enjoy! Whether that be biking, hiking, or swimming, walking/running or maybe you love to lift weights. That’s great! Allowing yourself to do that and focusing on the enjoyment of the activity and not the calories burned or the rigid time goals. One way to remove the focus from calories/time is to take off that fitness watch. Yes, I know the watches can be cute and you can get your text messages on them… but experiment with what activity looks like without tracking!
Make movement sustainable! If you are doing burpees (a personal hatred of mine), you might hesitate to go the gym or to roll out that yoga mat due to dreading the exercise… that doesn’t feel sustainable. When we look forward to what we are doing, we are more likely to do it. I know we won’t always exactly be “in the mood” for workouts/activities but often you enjoy yourself once you are there or afterwards you feel happy you went. Focusing on identifying where the hesitation comes from can help you identify the difference between dread of an activity versus lack of initial motivation for an enjoyable activity!
Your body needs rest! Allowing your body is rest is an important part of intuitive movement. There are days where your body will tell you that it is needing to rest and restore, pay attention to that! On these days, just the activities of daily life are enough, you also could engage in some stretching or restorative yoga. Your body needs days where it can repair and rebuild muscle (and replenish glycogen stores) to reduce muscle fatigue and to prevent injury or overuse!
Written by: Alex Hussey MS RD LDN