Loving and Honoring Your Beautiful Body: How to Exercise with Ease and Grace
A healthy body that can move through the world with grace and ease—shouldn’t that be the goal of any health and wellness program? Too often, especially for women, physical fitness can become a punishing ordeal that can consume hours of each day. We begin to lose sight of the goal of overall health, and become too fixated on finding the perfect workout to achieve our desired results. And, like anything that consumes too much of our time and attention, we must ask ourselves: at what point does being conscious about your health become being stressed about your health?
Why Moderation Matters
Taking time to move your beautiful body every day brings a range of different health benefits. Daily exercise has been shown to lower your risk of both cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A regular exercise program not only helps you stay lean, it can also increase your longevity, plus boost your mood and outlook on life. But an aggressive exercise plan—one that includes several hours a day, or seven days a week with no rest—can quickly become an obsessive exercise plan.
Enjoying moderate, varied exercise several times a week can help maintain your health, as well as your sense of balance. Moderation prompts you to truly engage with the choices you make instead of churning through workouts without thinking. When you really tune in to the needs of your body on any given day, you can design a customized workout plan that truly works for your life.
Finding Balance Means Finding Self Love
Need a quick check-in on your relationship with exercise? Try imagining how you would feel if you skipped three days in a row of planned workouts. If you find yourself going into panic mode, or starting to obsess about how much harder you’ll have to work to make up for the “lost time,” then it’s time to reconsider your relationship with exercise.
The first step in any overall wellness plan should be taking time to truly honor and appreciate yourself, and the unique strengths and gifts you bring to this world. Quieting the mind for a daily gratitude meditation for even just a few minutes a day can bring you calm and clarity. Try using one of the following affirmations, or make up your own that feels right to you:
I am strong, I am soft, I am centered.
I am grateful to my beautiful body for letting me move through the world with ease.
I respect my body, and I treat it with the love it deserves.
When you have a healthy mindset and a kind approach to your body, you will naturally provide it with what it needs—whether that’s a rest day for your sore muscles, or perhaps the challenge of a long sweaty run up and down a hilly trail. Really tune in to what your body is telling you, and you’ll end up feeling calmer and more centered, while still taking time to stretch and climb and lift when you crave some movement!
Sample Workout Plans for Staying in Tune With Your Beautiful Body
So, what does a workout plan look like when you are truly at peace with your body? It will vary for every woman, but here is a great sample plan for you to tailor to your own particular needs. You can pick and choose from the various options to create a plan that doesn’t take over your life, but still gives you a great balance of exercise to deliver the healthy benefits your body deserves:
- 40 minutes of body weight and plyometric exercises, 3-5 days per week. This can include jump squats, kettle bell workouts, plus a mix of light and heavy hand weights to give your body a diverse range of exercises to increase your heart rate and help build and maintain muscle tone.
- 30 minutes of cardio, plus 45-60 minutes of weights, 1-2 days per week. Hop on the exercise bike, go for a run, take a brisk walk with the dog, or pick up your jump rope. Once you’ve gotten your heart rate up, then ease into a longer session of weight training. Do this just once or twice a week to give your body a good challenge, without pushing it too hard.
- 60 minutes or more of moderate walking or hiking, as desired. Take the time for a longer walk or hike, and don’t work about heart rate or pace. Just breathe deep and enjoy.
Pilates, as desired. Dropping in to a Pilates class, or doing some floor work on your own can be a great way to lengthen and strengthen your muscles. Incorporate Pilates or yoga into your regular weekly routine and enjoy greater flexibility and core strength, without having to push yourself too hard.
Remember, the key to having a strong and beautiful body isn’t the hours you put it at the gym. Rather, healthy bodies require healthy minds. When you feel that balance, you can move through the world with grace, ease, and the wisdom to truly take care of your one and only body.