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@HEARDinLONDON #blog

Stop viewing exercise as a weightloss tool

Spam Filter for your Brain Episode 10

I've been thinking about how I interact personally with the movement this year. Before I got covid, you probably know that I struggled with long COVID and have a very different body than the one that 2019 left me with. I used to be exceedingly active in the gym five days a week and cycle for 2 hours a day. Now I'm housebound and walk with a mobility aid, and my physicality is very different than the one I used to know and used to identify with. I struggle with being hypermobile and the fatigue that long COVID has left me with.


So what that means is that when I, because of my hypermobility, stay still too long, my body seizes up, and I get very stiff, which causes a lot of knock-on difficulties with my body and a lot of pain. And if I rest as much as I need to for the long COVID, that causes that level of seizing up. So if I move, I get exhausted and get to the point of I can't always necessarily form words, and I have developed a stutter, and lots of other repercussions of being sort of it feels a bit like my brain shutting down when I move as much as I need to. And then, if I don't move as much as I need to, I get stuck and in a lot of pain. So it's trying to find a balance between these two things over the last couple of years, in the hope that Long-Covid would fade away and I would find my way back to the body that I once knew. I am now coming to terms with the fact that this may not be the case, and this might be the house that I live in for the rest of my story.


And so, one of my New Year's resolutions was to think about how I wanted to incorporate rest and movement in my life more creatively. And one of the thoughts that I had been processing a lot and thinking a lot about reframing and reforming is how I had previously really used exercise as a tool to try and manipulate my body into looking a particular way, in the hope that I would be more socially acceptable, have an easier life, maybe be a bit kinder to myself if I looked a specific way.


I thought of exercise as a tool for weight loss in many ways, and I have put a lot of time and effort into thinking about how I can change that into movement being something that I do for joy. So in this new body that I have, rather than aiming to get back to going to the gym again, my dream could be to spend 5 minutes gardening.


Or it could be that I'm going to put on my favourite song and dance around my kitchen. Or it could be that I could do some gentle stretches for my shoulders, for example. Or maybe I could do a few back exercises just to do some core strength and do them for 10 minutes, rather than a whole hour workout which I used to.


And it's not so much about pacing but about doing things because I enjoy that sense of movement rather than thinking that this is going to be the resolution that's going to solve my body. Seeing my body is a problem to be solved.


And this week, I invite you to get curious about what ways you could invite more movement in your life if you want to, in a way that creatively serves you in a way that fills you with joy.


Could you decide that you're going for a walk to the end of your road, if you're able to, every day, even no matter what the weather's like for a whole week? Could it be that you're going to spend at least once a day or whenever you get an email from a particular person who you find a little bit tricky that you're going to spend 30 seconds wiggling your fingers and thinking how brilliant it is that we can have opposable thumbs to pick things up like cups of tea? Or is it going to be that you will try wiggling your shoulders in the shape of writing your name? What sort of thing could you do that finds movement in your days to be a joyful, creative exercise rather than a punishment for thinking that your body hasn't got things right so far?


These are just lots of things that I've been thinking about lately, and I hope that it is helpful for you.


I am running a coaster in March on body image, so these things are very much at the front of my mind. And I hope that some of this is useful for you. So you could find creative ways to bring more movement into your days, to give you joy, and not because you have to or not using completing exercise as with punishment where we can use training for pleasure.


I hope this is useful, and have a beautiful week full of whatever movement fills your heart with many smiles.






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