The exercise-related question that I hear the most frequently is some version of, “How much should I work out?”
It’s a great question, but there’s never an easy answer.
I’m never sure if the person asking the question is seeking information – are they interested in government guidelines, for example – or are they seeking validation, recognition that they’re on the right path to take care of themselves.
In a society that considers being “busy” a badge of honor, we frequently focus on the efficiency and effectiveness of the time we spend exercising, but rarely on the quality of that time. Shifting our intention is beneficial. Consider your mood, more than your mileage.
When was the last time you asked yourself, “How much does my body want to move?” or “How does a specific type of exercise make me feel?”
In a modern world that’s largely inactive, we turn to metrics to give us information that naturally comes from our bodies.
Your body will tell you what to do if you can create space to experience those sensations. In that space, I have a feeling that most of our bodies will tell us to move more than we currently are. Now consider this:
Asking “How much should I exercise?” is about the destination.
Asking, “How much could I exercise?” is about the journey.
Take time to sit with the question, “How much does body want to move?” Better yet, don’t sit with that question – move with it. Go for a walk, preferably outside, while discussing with a friend.
If you ever got stuck on what to do, that’s a good place to start: Go for a walk outside with people you care about, and have conversations that lift you up. When you’re done consider how you feel. I bet that you’ll feel better.