Movement That Makes You Happy
Finding a type of exercise that you enjoy doing is really vital to your weight loss success. Yes you can get results short-term by forcing yourself to take part in those cardio activities that you dislike, but can you really maintain this for the rest of your life? Because if not, you will simply fall back into bad habits and choose to sit and watch TV instead of getting out there and moving. And really that's what it is all about - moving. Whether it is running that you love, cycling, swimming, team sport or group class, it is important to find something that you enjoy, not just to tick it off your cardio list.
Group classes are great for those of us that have not necessarily mastered the art of being self-motivated as all we have to do is turn up at the right time and we get someone telling us what we have to do. We get pushed to work harder than we would if left to our own devices, and we get the social interaction of having friends around us. Ideally you want to stop thinking that you are exercising and just be enjoying yourself.
For me dancing fits perfectly into this category. The social and creative aspects of dancing make the practice a fun and refreshing part of my day. Taking a class can be an hour or even ninety minutes workout and still feel mentally stimulating and engaging. It has also been proven to create new pathways and connections between the muscles and the brain. Ballet in particular is great for this. As Paskevska describes, "Ballet technique re-educates the neuromuscular circuits in an initial and direct manner that has, so far, not been paralleled in other Western theatrical dance forms" (2005, p.105). Dancing can also be helpful in improving technique and building body awareness which is helpful in all other areas of life. Whether it means you have better alignment for when you run, or you can feel that your hip flexors are getting tight from sitting down too much and you therefore take the time to have a stretch. It will result in better biomechanics and help your body stay in better condition for longer, which is why we all started this health and fitness journey in the first place.
But dancing may not be for you. And that's okay, because there are so many forms of activity that are going to help you in your weight-loss journey. Maybe you want to get all your friends to come down to your favourite group class, or go for a walk outside in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery. And maybe you haven't found that form of exercise that you really love, and that's okay, it just means you are still searching. Give things a go, try getting on the rower, or that group class you've been wary of, you never know what you might enjoy. And as long as you are moving, you are heading in the right direction.
By Kate Garrett
Paskevska, A. (2005). Ballet Beyond Tradition. New York: Routledge
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.