When you move better, you feel better.Join hundreds of others and take the first step to a happier body right now! Get My Top Ten Must-Have Tools & Resources For A Body That Feels Amazing and start feeling better today – no extra time required! Hook me up!
Do What You Can
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how to design individual movement programs, and how to help you design your own program.
There are so many exercises, movements and lifestyle choices that could be helpful.
But most of us just don’t have enough time to do what we’d love to do.
So you need to have some way to narrow it down, to make it manageable, and to prioritize. That’s what my program is for – but it’s not what I want to talk about today.
Today, I want to talk about something bigger. Something that Katy Bowman said that’s really resonated with me. When she was asked about how to decide what sort of movement to do, her answer was:
“Do what you can”.
What does it mean to do what you can? I’ve been musing about this a lot over the last few weeks, and today I’m sharing my thoughts.
Do What You Can – Physically
This is where it starts for me.
If you can’t walk without pain, you probably shouldn’t consider taking up running. Do what you are physically able to do without causing pain or damage.
One of the reasons I love Restorative Exercise so much is that it’s an exceptional tool to help you understand what your body can and cannot do (and to increase what you can do, over time).
Do What You Can – Emotionally
Our emotions have a huge impact on what we can do.
I have some clients who literally cannot handle the idea of relaxing their bellies. It’s less important to them to have a functional digestive tract than it is to meet an aesthetic ideal. And you know what? That’s totally ok. It’s a choice they’re making, and some day they may make a different choice, or they may not. Either way, they’re making the choice that their emotions and identity allow them to make.
Ok, it’s not totally ok, because it sucks that we have a culture that values impossible physical standards over health and wellbeing, but I mean that on a cultural level. Individually, I completely support them and their choice.
Another example – if it stresses you out to make time to move – then it’s not serving you well. Or if you want to do some sort of movement practice and you find out that you hate it, then it’s not working for you either. This is about you, so honouring your emotions and feelings is really, really vital.
Do What You Can – Practically
We all have obligations. To our friends, our families, our communities and ourselves. And this takes up time. It just does. As much as I would love to do 4 hours of exercise practice a day, I don’t. And you don’t either. Whatever your life situation, you have boundaries, priorities and limits on what is possible. Perhaps these will change over time, and perhaps they will not.
A lot of what I write about in this blog is to help give you options and solutions to the practical barriers in the way of movement. Here’s a post I compiled with the help of some of my favourite friends and movers that’s packed with advice on helping you move more without adding time to your day.
Dealing With My Own Barriers
A month or so ago I gave myself a serious limit on my Facebook time, and it’s really been incredible – I feel so much more productive and engaged with my movement practice, my life, and my work.
With that barrier down, my biggest barrier to movement is my environment. I live in a big, dirty city that takes at least an hour to leave. If I want to go for a two hour hike, I have to sit in a car for two hours as well.
This kind of breaks my heart, but I’m taking steps to make changes to this as part of my long term plan.
And in the short term, I do my very best to spend my vacation time outdoors. Yes, it’s 10 days a year and not 365, but that is what I can do. And thanks to the magic of technology, that’s what I’ll be doing when this post is published. Swimming, scrambling, hiking, and canoing. Looking into far distances and communing with trees. Getting dirty and then swimming again. Getting some sun. Getting pine needs stuck in my socks. Can you tell I’m getting excited?
Camping In Killarney Is What I Can Do Right Now – And It’s Wonderful
So I can’t get all the time outdoors that I want, but I can love every second of my outdoor vacations!
I only get a fraction of the outdoor time that I dream of, but I’m making the most of what I do get! And making the rest of my life as movement filled and as aligned with my values….as I can!
Next time you’re fretting about not doing enough, or feeling guilty because you are supposed to be doing something else, or wishing you were just a little bit stronger or taller or more able, maybe you’ll remember the words ‘do what you can’, and they’ll be a source of comfort for you as they are for me.
Petra is a movement educator and personal trainer with a passion for helping people find greater ease, joy and health in their bodies. She believes that better movement can help every body - and she's always happy to chat about it. When she's not teaching, you'll probably find her hanging out on a set of monkey bars.