Intuitive eating proponents like the term “movement” to refer to physical activity of any kind.
It’s a way of reframing it in a way that focuses on the health-promoting behavior of moving your body more and in enjoyable ways.
Conversations in fitness circles tend to revolve around calorie burn and/or building muscle because of the focus on the size and shape of bodies.
What are the best fat-burning exercises? What is the best program to build muscle? Is HIIT (high-intensity interval training) better than LISS (low-intensity steady state)? Should I do cardio before lifting? Is static stretching good or bad prior to training? High weight, low reps, or lower weight, higher reps? Fasted or fed cardio?
To be fair (the geek that I am) I do enjoy reading research into these topics and discussing them. If the nuances are exciting and fun for you, have at it!
But for most people, these things just don’t matter. In fact, they are a HUGE distraction and often a source of a poor relationship with physical activity, negative body image, and ultimately trickle down to a poor relationship with food.
We don’t need to train hard or push our limits to get the health benefits. Most of the health benefits of physical activity come when we simply find consistent, enjoyable ways of moving our bodies more.
Of course, there are certain activities that benefit us in different ways. And, there are reasons we might choose to train and/or follow a structured workout program (run a marathon or 5K, train for a sport, climb Mt. Everest, we just like doing it, etc.).
But, we shouldn’t feel like we must or should do any particular type of physical activity. It’s ok if your physical activity “regimen” is taking a walk after work, dancing in the kitchen, or working out in the shop.
Movement that brings YOU joy is going to be the “ideal” exercise/movement/physical activity (whatever you want to call it) for YOU!
When we reframe it this way, it really helps shift our mindset in such a way that not only is physical activity not a “necessary evil” but something we absolutely love and look forward to! Not for the calorie burn but for the joy it brings us and how it makes our bodies feel.