What is the one thing you do everyday that when you don’t do it, something in your being feels… off? You probably have several things that just need to happen for daily life to feel… right. Health and productivity guru Chalene Johnson might call these “intrinsic priorities,” things you feel you must do but do almost without thinking, things that will happen almost without you having to consciously plan for them.
For me, it’s pretty simple: brush, floss, Shakeology, and movement. Are you at a place in your life in which movement is a necessity? Not an I-know-I-ought-to-do-this necessity, but an I-feel-physically-wrong-when-I-don’t necessity. If your answer is yes, fabulous! What a healthy place to be… mostly.
Notice that the word is “movement,” not exercise. Those who love exercise can easily become as addicted to it is just as others are to french fries. A little healthy moderate exercise becomes forays into also-healthy high intensity interval training (HIIT), which might be pushed into extended lactate-threshold training, and then done too often (more than 4 days a week for HIIT) it becomes over-training. A vague flue-like feeling sets in. A feeling of just being… off. Your limbs may feel heavy, and movement feels kind of… wrong. That, my friend, is an exercise-craver’s hangover.
The cure is simple: keep loving exercise! Do what you love, but dial in a low-intensity day of movement each week, not just cardio-vascularly but also muscularly. Competitive athletes do this. Even hard core at-home exercise programs like P90X and Insanity include a periodized day of relative rest! Give your body one day of lovely gentle movement, without over-stressing it. Think of it as an easy cross-training or cross-focus day. Depending on your current training, that could be a hike in the woods or a paddle in a kayak. For some, it’s as simple as working in the garden or doing yoga. For a cycling enthusiast, maybe it’s an easy spin for a latte’!
The point is, your goal is to make movement one of your daily intrinsic priorities. Keeping in mind how much intensity you’ve had in your week and planning the day on which you’ll need to be a little more gentle will help keep movement feeling… right. 🙂