Last week I talked about how running is an exercise that slows me down. If you’re new to exercise and don’t know how to fit into your life without rushing around like a maniac, or you currently exercise but it’s a struggle to find time, here are some tips.
- Be clear on why you want to exercise. Is it because you have a value that says you want to be healthy? Is it because you want to look after others, and in order to do that you have to look after yourself first? Is it because you know it benefits our mental health? Once you identify why you want to exercise it will seem less like something on your to do list, and more like an act that you do because it fits with your values. (Sidenote: doing it because we want to keep up with Mrs Jones from next door’s crazy biceps isn’t going to help, and will take you away from wanting to live a slower life!)
- Find what you like. Often we exercise based on what we think will tone our arms, or make us lose weight the quickest. If we base our exercise decisions on this then we’re missing out on a great opportunity for living a slower life. We should find an exercise that makes our hearts sing and gives us the headspace to carry on with our day in a calmer way. Does being outside, connecting with nature, make you feel more grounded? Then maybe try hiking or jogging or cycling. Do you find the rhythm of weights or the cross fit machine is meditative? Then try the gym. Does social connection help boost your mood? Then maybe an exercise class or training group is worth a try. At the start it may still not mean that you’re looking forward to exercising, but you’re far more likely to feel good afterwards. For me a solo jog or yoga session at home gives me the headspace I need.
- Do what you can. This is so important. Sometimes we are trying to go too hard too soon, or are trying to cram in a 30 minute training session every time we exercise. Sometimes that’s just not possible. We need to know our limits to prevent injury and burn out. We need to know it’s ok that if our day is crazy then we can just fit in 5 minutes (or even 0 minutes!) instead of 30. There are so many times when I’ve been exhausted and unable to motivate myself to do an exercise session, but I’ve spent 5 minutes on the yoga mat to amazing results. 5 minutes was all it took to find space in my day, making my mind feel clearer and calmer. This has helped me massively in shifting out of the mad-woman-rushing-around mindset into a slower, more intentional way of continuing with my day.
- Listen to your body. Exercise induces stress on the body. Often that is a good stress, however if you’re already super stressed out or completely exhausted then exercise may do more damage than good. Robyn over at the Real Life RD often talks about this, and I recommend taking a look at her words of wisdom!
- Breathe! Exercise is a great time to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. If it’s becoming erratic, then my view is that you’re pushing too hard. Focus on every in breath and out breath, and how amazing that this can power your body. The breathe alone can calm us down and make us feel like a different person afterwards!
Do you have any exercise tips to help keep exercise in line with a slow lifestyle? If so leave them in the comments box below!