Navigating Change In Movement

I tried a peloton for the first time a few months ago. This is probably the first structured form of movement I’ve done since before kids .. almost three years ago! I’ve written a blog before about identity and exercise [here], and this 20 minute (very sweaty) Peloton ride got me thinking again. 

During my life thus far, the most chaotic, heavily changing, crazy challenging season of life has been each postpartum period for both of my babies—It has also been a season of rest, recovery, nourishment, self care, and growth to say the least. In these past few years, I’ve found it really difficult to understand my relationship with movement. What feels good? What logically works for my changing body? What do I even like now? How do I make time? Should I prioritize rest today, or push myself to move?

I used to love certain movements, or could rely on certain exercises to make me feel wonderful and energized, but so much of that connection has changed – it feels as though I have to “start from scratch.” There is definitely no part of my identity that feels connected to movement or exercise right now, aside from feeling a bit of that societal pressure to figure it out “for my health.”

For anyone else sitting in a similar place, I figured I’d share some things to consider in moving forward through uncharted waters when navigating change in movement:

  1. No pressure! The number one thing I remind my clients (and myself) about getting into exercise and finding movement that works for you, is to take the pressure off. All of it. Don’t feel the need to come up with commitment, set a schedule, or expectation on how you’ll progress. So much of establishing new, sustainable patterns is exploration and positivity. The higher the bar is set, the easier it is to perceive failure – start small and release that pressure!
  2. Find what you love. Sounds super corny, I know, but we KNOW that habits are formed more easily and sustainably when we get that dopamine hit! Trying something over and over that you hate, because it’s “good for you” but never really clicks? It won’t last. Find the things you enjoy, feel great doing, or even make you laugh! You may find it a lot easier to keep it up AND more motivated to push yourself forward.
  3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Hear me out – so much of exploring new movement is uncomfortable. Heart pumping in your ears, feeling your face turn a little red, sweat beads dripping down your sideburns, maybe some slightly achey or burning sensations – I tend to dread this part most days. BUT part of exploring movement again is knowing that this is also “normal.” When we move more than usual, we increase all sorts of wonderful hormones that are meant to cause these slightly uncomfortable physical sensations, much like a fight or flight response. So this is a two-sided reminder: it’s okay to feel slight discomfort in these things as you explore exercise, AND stay in tune with yourself enough to pull back or call it quits when this discomfort crosses a line. For example, some things I genuinely no longer enjoy because of physical discomfort (like running after nursing two babies and two C-sections), while other activities feel surprisingly good (hello stretching and seated cycling :))

I’ve sat on this blog for several months because of this closing, and I think I struggled with it because I still don’t have much of my own closure in my relation to movement – nine months postpartum and still no routine in intentional movement! So this is your reminder that there is a season for everything. Finding movement that works for you in an enjoyable way is spectacular; sometimes even a blessing or a privilege. We know it’s great for us AND it’s hard to be human and take care of these bodies. Go easy on yourself.

“We don’t move because we hate our bodies, we move because we love them. “

Stated by “Emma” – Peloton Instructor

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Welcome! I’m Kelsey, a Registered Dietitian and young woman on a mission to contribute to anti-diet culture. I’m so excited to have you along for this journey!