Let’s Get Physical
In the middle of a freezing cold New York winter I had two very vivid dreams that I was swimming in a pool. The sensation of being in the pool was luxurious and comforting and the effect of having the dream twice was too difficult to ignore--even in February. So I found the nearest indoor pool and got my ass to it. My process made me realize how simple (and energizing!) it can be to begin a new physical practice. I’m going to break it down to 5 Easy Steps.
Step 1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Whatever your body is telling you, listen to it, even if it is out of your comfort zone. As a matter of fact, especially if it is out of your comfort zone! I was not feeling great about my winter belly. I didn’t have a swim cap or goggles or even a proper bathing suit for laps, but I didn’t think about it. I had a couple of dreams. I went to the YMCA, they found me a bathing cap and I jumped in. It felt amazing to align with the craving my body was having. Trusting my instincts felt incredibly rewarding and uplifting. Doing something that seemed a little nuts was so liberating. I surprised myself and tried something new and I will hold onto those qualities always.
2. GO FOR TIME AND GOOD VIBES. Ten minutes of something you enjoy is a million times better than an hour of something you hate. I had about 45 minutes to fit this entire event into my day so I swam for maybe 17 minutes. Afterward, I discovered there was a sauna, score! Wow, this idea was really paying off. With a 5 minute reward in the sauna I was sold. I returned the swim cap, got dressed and went on to my work day. I liked it. It was challenging but it felt good, and I had the time to fit it in. That’s all that was necessary.
3. NO JUDGEMENT. It’s all good, baby. At the pool, I was in the slow lane (there are medium and fast lanes) and the 70-year-olds were literally swimming circles around me. By the 5th minute, I seriously thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest. I was dying! I had all these childhood memories of swimming in races at age 8 and I could not believe how freaking hard it is to swim as an adult. So I took a break for a minute and swam for a minute and took another break, whatevs. The pool water felt so nice. As a movement and fitness person, I could completely go down the rabbit hole of how much I sucked at it. I simply chose to think differently. I showed up. High fives all around.
4. DO IT 4 TIMES BEFORE REEVALUATING. It’s hard to know what you will get out of it by going once. That’s why steps 1-3 are so important. Keep the evaluation about things that matter to you. To me it was convenience, novelty, and results physically and mentally. You might have different goals. After the fourth time, you might uncover things you didn’t know were goals. Make a commitment of 2x/week for 2 weeks to see what you are getting out of it. If there is a starter package, buy it. A one month trial, do it. After four consistent swim practices, I have developed a pace, feel stronger in my back and legs and can breathe so much more deeply. I love how there is no talking. To my surprise, it’s also convenient for me to drop the kids, swim, shower and go to work. (And I love the sauna.)
5. TALK ABOUT IT WITH PRIDE AND EXCITEMENT! When you are exploring something new, it can be exciting, or confusing, humbling or inspiring and talking about gives it the weight it deserves. It is so easy to become complacent about our lives as adults and trying something new with your body is uplifting especially when you remain proud of yourself for doing it. I can’t believe I went swimming in winter. I can’t believe how much I sucked at it. Did I mention there is a sauna?! It feels so good to talk about doing something good for myself and your friends want to hear about all of that goodness, too. Even if it’s temporary, this commitment to this thing, just know that the important piece is that you can try something new again. Just follow steps 1-4.
Keeping up a physical practice is a discipline. It can be very challenging to mentally and physically commit to a specific routine long term. It’s easier and makes more sense to make a blanket goal to commit to your body. Look for things that fit into your current life, inspire you and keep fitness fun and interesting. Just keep moving until you find the right fit. And know that you are always free to move again.
If you are looking for some new Pilates to try, please check out our new offerings including Reformer/Tower/Chair Classes and Express Reformer. BodyTonic is always looking for ways to bring you the best in health and well-being.