I have been exercising in a different way recently which has been life changing and very supportive for my body. In the past, through my working life, I realised I needed to exercise: I could feel I was losing strength and tone as I was ageing. I’ve always been active during my day, and I used to think that was enough. Not coincidently, when a new gym opened locally and had a special offer I joined it!
As I went more regularly, I became more fit. I returned to the trainer a few times, until I thought that there must be a point where I am at my optimum and can stay there. I felt there would be a level where this constant increase of exercise would become harmful to my body, so I decided to plateau with the gym work and concentrate on swimming, which in truth I enjoyed much more.
But with the swimming, again I started to push myself. I managed 50 lengths over one week and then increased it to 60, then 80, which was a mile. Woo hoo! I was swimming a mile a week. Then I pushed to swimming 50 lengths a session and if I didn’t manage that, I felt I’d failed myself. By the time I’d reached 80 lengths a session, I could feel how I was swimming much less for pleasure; rather, I needed to complete the goal. I would see people get into the pool and do a few lengths and exit quickly and think, “how pointless was that?”
My membership lapsed as I had forgotten to renew it. Okay, I decided, it was time for a break. I stopped and did virtually no exercise at all to see how that felt – I was aware I could get away with this for a while. I then had an episode of lower back pain. I was quite stressed at the time with work and emotional issues. I remember thinking, “for goodness sake, now this as well!”
I did not understand it as a stop moment – it felt like yet another thing I needed to sort out.
I had started attending some presentations with Serge Benhayon at Universal Medicine but had not yet seen how life changing this was going to be. It took me a couple of years to start to honestly look at my life and see how the way I chose to live affected every area/aspect of my life. I tended to do all or nothing, and when I was in the ‘all’ I pushed myself hard with everything, and had done so for a very long time.
Over the following couple of years I learnt a different way of caring for myself. I now see the back pain was a great stop moment I was given to show me that I hadn’t been supporting my physical body and caring for myself.
I returned quite slowly to exercise, by walking and going occasionally to a local pool. My fitness level and muscle tone had plummeted in the gap of not exercising at all; my commitment to myself was also quite sporadic – I would exercise when I had the time, and if at the end of the day I had made no time, then it wouldn’t happen. But as my level of self-care has improved, exercise has moved higher on the list of importance. Now I am realising a very different way of exercising, by feeling what my body wants to do.
I started my new exercise program with a few core exercises and a little daily walk. It has taken time for me to feel the benefit of the exercises, but I have continued them, with more commitment to myself and my health, and with this my fitness has improved.
I realised that this is my responsibility, to myself, to give my body more care and attention.
When I was pushing myself, I was in disregard of the messages my body was giving me and at the time I wasn’t exercising at all, I was absolving myself of any responsibility of looking after my body at all.
Now I exercise gently most days. It may be a walk in the countryside or my garden, an exercise class, a bounce on a trampoline, some gentle connective tissue stretches at the computer, some core exercises – or I can swim crawl (freestyle) for a few lengths in the local pool.
I listen to my body and exercise it whatever way I feel to, with great joy and confirmation for the health of my body. It’s my connection to myself that guides the exercise I choose to do, and supports me and my body to be Fit for Life . . . and now I’m off to exercise!
Gill R., UK