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Holistic Exercise: Working Out by Working Within

Updated: May 9, 2023

Typically, when we think about exercise our goals are usually centered around making our bodies look better, losing weight, building muscle or maintaining our cardiovascular health. The focus is predominantly on the body and sometimes on psychological health as we typically experience improvements in how we feel emotionally when we exercise. It’s such a major part of the adult world, whether you have an exercise routine, you’re developing one or you choose to stay as far away from exercising as possible. If we’re not doing it, we’re dressing as if we are doing it. If we’re not dressing as if we are doing it, we’re seeing many others dress as if they are doing it. It is part of our collective consciousness.

I invite you to think back to your childhood for a moment and the way you used to enjoy moving your body. Did you love to run around on the grass, swim in the pool, wander around in nature, climb hills or trees? Did you lose yourself in the backyard with the worms and caterpillars? What a powerful distinction: how we exercise our bodies now and how we used to naturally, inherently, joyfully move our bodies when we were little. We didn’t care how we were dressed; we could take off running in the fanciest of outfits and only our elders could contain this deep profound joy that found expression through our limbs. Can you remember how you felt when you were running wild, climbing free, splashing in the water, exploring trees and critters in the backyard? What was your unique physical expression of joy when you were little? How far back can you go?

How does it feel when you’re getting ready to go to the gym or preparing for a jog or bike ride around the neighborhood? How does it feel when you get on the stationary machine, whatever it may be, at home and lock eyes with a screen for entertainment? Perhaps, it feels because you're making a healthy choice. Perhaps, you prepare begrudgingly. Perhaps, the last thing you really want to do is put on a pair of tight-fitting pants and head into the world to work on improving your body and mistaken it for your Self.

I invite you to pause and ask yourself, “Where was my joy when I moved my body as a child?” I invite you to give yourself one day a week to go out and do it— One day to refocus your attention away from the outside world of physicality and onto that internal space that, we, as kids, could access effortlessly. Joy. Exuberance. Happiness. Peace. Feeling free. How will you reconnect to your childhood body-joy? I’d love to hear about your unique recollection and how it feels to reconnect to it. Post it here. You may find that no matter how many years have passed, no matter how many aches and pains may have developed, childhood joy remains imbedded deep within our body and awaits us to come home to it. Maybe once a week will expand to two. Maybe that internal joy will awaken another to reconnect to theirs.

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