How do we find enjoyment in our daily workouts? What movement sessions are best? Is higher intensity movement better than more gentle modalities?

These questions are often asked in classes. In truth, higher intensity movement and more gentle modalities can work side by side. There is no right or wrong way to move your body and you can choose from a variety of movement modalities.

Positive movement can feel hard and a little challenging some days or be of lower intensity on other days. Either way, you walk away from a movement regime feeling happy with your choice and not like you had to perform beyond your limits. 

Intuitiveness and Mindfulness

But how do you determine the right type of movement? Put simply, tune into your body and ask it what it needs today.

Intuitiveness and mindfulness will help you choose a movement practice you enjoy. Each day, week, month, and year are different since our needs change. This is a learning process, so be gentle with yourself.

Here are some questions to ask when deciding on a daily movement practice:

  • What does my body need today?
  • How rested am I?
  • How hydrated am I?
  • How is my anxiety or stress level?
  • Am I well nourished?
  • Is my body stiff or sore?
  • How is my mood overall?

These questions will determine if you are to go for that 10km hike or practice yoga or stretching on the mat for 15 minutes.

The workout you choose should match the way you feel today.

But Shouldn’t I Be Getting Sweaty After Every Workout?

Most people think that a workout means sweat 100% of the time. Sometimes that is absolutely true, but at other times it is best to take the gentler approach.

Full throttle and high impact workouts every day can be counterintuitive and detrimental to your health. And can you really sustain this regime long term?

If you are new to a movement practice, starting slowly with a gentler approach is much better than jumping into a higher intensity program. Working up to higher intensity over a period of months is better tolerated by the body.

What If I Am Not Sure Which Modality to Choose?

The first 5 minutes rule works really well in determining if a chosen workout is a match for that day. Put a timer on for the first 5 min. If after 5 minutes you are feeling worse than when you started, stop and choose a gentler approach.

Here are some other things to consider:

Warm Up Well

Take your time to do some mobility work before you embark on your chosen modality. This will help to prime your muscles and skeletal system to be ready for action and decrease the chances of injury.

Be Sure to Stretch Afterwards

Stretching is highly underrated and is something I recommend all people do daily. Stretching after each movement session helps to give back to your body in preparation for the next time, decreases the likelihood of injury, and loosens fatigued muscles.

Hydrate Well

Making sure you replenish your body’s water levels is highly important for your connective tissue to be able to function and move well, again decreasing the likelihood of injuries or little niggles.

Eat to Nourish Your Body

Filling your body with all the goodness of fruits and vegetables, protein, and other carbohydrates helps you to replenish your body, keeping you feeling your best and ready to take on the next workout.

Each Person Has Different Needs – Consider Yours!

There is no magic potion on what is the right amount of challenging or gentle movement you need to find what works for your body. Tune in and listen to what your body needs. Whether it’s a high, low, or a mixture of movements is up to you. There is no right or wrong way, only your way. 

Learn to trust and go with the flow. 

Editorial note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Always seek the appropriate medical care before starting any exercise regime.

What movement modality do you practice most often? Why is that your choice? Have you tried something else? Do you choose a different type of movement depending on your mood or physical state? Please share how you determine the best type of exercise for the day.

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