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Woman to Woman

Honest talk from an ob/gyn & menopause practitioner dedicated to mid-life women

  • Catherine Hansen

Enjoying life through movement

This past Thursday, Milisa Burns led the EWC on an experience of sound and music where members used rhythm and the joy of movement to re-connect to their bodies. Although I was unable be there live, I was with them in spirit and it got me thinking about how we as a society view and talk about movement. Tell me if you or any of your family or friends have ever said anything like this: I need to work off that pizza I had last night Beauty is pain Burning off calories Ugh I haven't reached my steps goals today There is so much shame and fear that surrounds movement & physical activity - the pressure to go to a certain gym class, to wear expensive athleisure outfits, or constant calorie tracking. It's much less common to talk about the joy that comes from engaging in an activity than the physical benefits we receive. As US research psychologist, Stanford lecturer and author Kelly McGonigal says in this 12 minute interview, "we need a total mindset reset about what movement is and why we do it."

"Kelly reveals how it’s possible to change our mindset to view physical activity as a way to engage with life. If we focus on calories and metrics, we may be missing the joy we can experience from movement." (Dr. Rangan Chatterjee) Coming from a place of fear, shame or focusing on metrics may lead people to choose an activity they hate doing, are less likely to keep up with it, and result in disappointment. Movement is part of being human. It's not another thing to check off your long to-do list. So, as Kelly recommends, try finding ways to move your body through things you enjoy. If you hate being inside a crammed stuffy gym, find a way to do an outdoor workout - maybe through a community clean-up project. Or if you love animals, but don't/can't have one, there are plenty of animals shelters that allow you to take dogs on walks! It's a win-win. The point is to use movement as a tool to enjoy life, not as a punishment.