For me personally, the term “exercise” conjures up images of women chained to a treadmill in an effort to squeeze back into an old pair of skinny jeans, they have been secretly coveting from the glory days of their youth.
Because of this notion, I have done away with this “term” in favour of a more self loving slant, one that does not make me feel like I’m dragging my sorry ass along to partake in some sort of dreaded chore, others have told me I “should” be doing.
For me, it’s all about falling in love with your own version of movement…
We all know that on average the adult human body is made of between 50-70% water. Now I want you to imagine what happens to stagnant water, it becomes a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria and parasites. Moral of story? Moving our body is paramount to our health, we need to get it moving, but there are oh so many more benefits too.. Especially when it comes to the skin.
When we move our bodies, you are supplying your skin with a lovely little dose of oxygenated blood and nutrients. As the blood flow increases, more blood and nutrients reach the skin cells, resulting in a temporary red face, but this is simply the extra blood flowing into your skin.
Since our skin is a major organ of elimination, breaking a sweat can be a very effective way of flushing toxins, releasing trapped dirt and oil, leaving your skin brighter, healthier and with an overall glow.. (remember to wash your face afterwards, so you don’t trap the toxins back into your pores again).
Movement boosts our body’s natural detox system, ultimately leading to clearer skin flushed with vitality.
Moving stimulates our lymphatic system, which is our body’s garbage collector and filtration system. When the lymph is congested, it can cause dry skin, blemishes, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, cellulite and the build up of free radicals, that can lead to accelerated aging. Unlike the heart, the lymph has no pump to keep it moving, so it is reliant on us for assistance.
To keep your lymph circulating at an optimum, movement such as rebounding, jumping rope, dry skin brushing, yoga, dance and stretching stimulates the lymphatic system. In my experience, the better your lymph system is at eliminating waste, the better your skin will be.
Movement also encourages diaphragmatic breathing, which delivers more oxygen to the skin, but most of all it reduces stress by triggering the release of endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that produce a sense of euphoria in the brain.
Stress wreaks havoc on our appearance… FACT.
It also increases our cortisol levels, which can actually stop your body from losing weight and create excess water retention, leading to the onset of many skin conditions such as acne, eczema and last but not least the destruction of our precious collagen..
A sweat is great and all, but exercise that is too strenuous on the body or too excessive can also raise our cortisol. If we look at asian countries for example, most of their physical movement comes in gentle forms such as Tai Chi, Qigong or walking, yet despite this, they appear to have lower incidences of body fat than their western counterparts, who often undertake rigorous and hard core forms of exercise. I personally find this a fascinating fact.
This is where the good news begins.. Fun and relaxation reduces cortisol, and this is exactly what our own version of movement needs to be.
One size does not fit all. To truly honour your body, we must move in ways that only you enjoy. Does your “exercise” regimen suck the life out of you? Invigorate or exhaust you? Does it bring you pleasure? If it doesn’t consider giving it the boot… Seek to move your body in ways that are exciting and enjoyable for you. For me, the thought of going to the gym has never appealed, but running around on a tennis court makes me come alive. Not dissing anyone else’s choices, but I need to do what feels right for me. Does your current form of movement exhaust or energise you? Listen to your body instead of your mind on this one, she is wiser than you will ever know..
Notice how you feel….
The ways in which we can move our body are truly endless, and I think it pays to think outside the box if nothing is really floating your boat so to speak…Think about what you loved in your childhood or perhaps there’s something on your bucket list that you’ve always wanted to do. If the thought of something excites you, why not give it a go?
This way movement will become something that you look forward to with childlike enthusiasm, instead of it being a chore, and what’s more, if you love it, it will be easy to commit.
In the past I had always gravitated towards movement that was dynamic, such as dancing, running and tennis, which is more yang focused (intense) but lately, I am taking Dr Libby’s advice. I am absolutely loving the benefits of bush walking and yin yoga, that incorporates diaphragmatic breathing, stretching and meditation, all rolled into one.
So take a stroll by the sea, a walk through the woods, a garden or the grocery store, jump on a trampoline, learn to surf, roller skate, paddleboard, or just breathe….do the downward dog or dance around the loungeroom in your PJ’s to your favourite tunes while singing into your hairbrush. (or is that just me?!)…
Try taking it to another level. Experts have found that the endorphin high from exercising, is amplified when you do it in nature. Is there nothing nature can’t do?!
Move everyday in a way that makes you feel vibrant, strong and alive…
Movement also shakes up our energy, so when we are feeling stuck or anxious, instead of trying to force your way out of it..literally shake things up. (Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” anyone?) Shifting the energy in one area will help it flow into another.
Oh and one more thing.. Getting into your body gets you out of your head, which can ground and centre you again, especially in times of crisis. And for me, the more I am out of my head and back in my heart, the more I am open to moments of divine inspiration..
To your blossoming xx