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  • Dr. Allison Andre, DPT

Rediscover Joyful Movement: The Power of Intuitive Movement for Feeling Good and Living Well


Many people struggle to stay motivated to exercise when it feels like a chore. But what if you could enjoy moving your body in a way that suits your health and well-being? This is the idea behind intuitive movement. Instead of following rigid exercise routines or goals, you listen to your body and do what feels good and healthy for you.


For me, exercise routines have changed over time depending on what motivates me and how it makes me feel. I've gone from CrossFit to trail running to both trail running and rock climbing. Lately, I've been incorporating more flexibility-focused practices like yoga and primal movement into my fitness routines. When I exercise for the benefit of my soul and overall health, and listen to what feels good for my body, I always look forward to my workouts.


Exercise is not one-size-fits-all. In this post, we'll explore the concept of intuitive movement and how it can help you stay motivated to exercise and prioritize your health.


Yoga on the beach


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

What is Intuitive Movement?


Intuitive movement is a type of exercise that emphasizes listening to your body and following its cues based on your own preferences and needs. It involves being in tune with your body and its needs and letting them guide you, rather than adhering to a strict exercise routine. It is often associated with body positivity and rejecting the idea that exercise should be punitive or focused on achieving a certain body type.


"Intuitive movement is a powerful tool for healing and transformation. It helps you reconnect with your body, listen to its needs, and move in a way that supports your growth and well-being." - Ruby Warrington, author of Material Girl, Mystical World

Woman happy and feeling alive

It can be anything from dancing in your living room to hiking in nature to playing with your kids or pets. It can be gentle or intense, fast or slow, structured or spontaneous. The only requirement is that it FEELS GOOD FOR YOU and it's an activity you enjoy and MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE.

 

4 Benefits of Intuitive Movement


1. Improved Relationship with Your Body


Intuitive movement helps you to have a healthier and more positive relationship with your body, teaching you to listen to your body’s signals and needs, and to exercise in a way that feels good and energizing.


Intuitive movement helps you to appreciate your body’s strengths and limitations, and to accept yourself as you are. This way, you can improve your health and well-being not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

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Woman performing yoga, intuitive movement

2. Reduced Stress and Anxiety


Intuitive movement can reduce stress and anxiety by making exercise enjoyable and aligned with your body’s needs.


Exercise is well established to improve mood, lower anxiety and depression symptoms. Adding movement that feels good to your body fosters a mindful and compassionate attitude toward your body.

This approach to movement can benefit you not only during workouts but also in everyday life. You may feel more relaxed, centered, and resilient.





Exercise to age well

3. Improved Exercise Compliance and Longevity

By embracing intuitive movement, you'll be more attuned to what your body needs and more likely to engage in exercise that feels good and sustainable over the long term.

You'll begin to understand that more is not always better and that listening to your body is key to building a resilient and healthy body.

Some days you may be up for a challenging workout, while other days a gentle, restorative practice may be more appropriate. By honoring your body's needs, you'll avoid the risk of injury and burnout while enjoying the benefits of exercise for years to come.




Let go of exercise for weight loss

4. Letting Go of Exercise for Diet and Weight Loss


Intuitive movement is a powerful tool that can help you shift your perspective on exercise. By focusing on movement that feels good and is aligned with your body's needs. According to Ragen Chastain, a fitness coach, researcher, writer, and advocate, intuitive movement can be highly beneficial for individuals who have had negative experiences with exercise due to toxic fitness culture or fatphobia and are now seeking a more harmonious relationship with physical activity.

You can let go of the idea that exercise is solely about achieving a certain body type or losing weight. Instead, you can prioritize overall health and wellness, which can be a more sustainable and fulfilling approach.

From my personal experience, I find that it's much easier to stick with my exercise goals when I do it for the sake of my overall health. When exercise is viewed as a means to support my physical, mental, and emotional well-being, rather than simply a means to an end, I feel more motivated and energized to keep moving.



 

How to Practice Intuitive Movement


If you're interested in incorporating intuitive movement into your own fitness routine, here are a few helpful tips to get you started:


  1. Take some time to check in with your body and its needs. Pay attention to how you're feeling physically and emotionally, and what type of movement would feel good and energizing for you in that moment.

  2. Experiment with different types of movement to see what feels good for you. This might include yoga, dance, weightlifting, running, or any other type of movement that you enjoy.

  3. Let go of strict exercise routines and try to be flexible to adapt to your body's needs. Be open to trying new things and change things up depending on your needs that day. Are you feeling burnt out? Are you overworked? Do you need a good stress reliever and adrenaline boosting workout? Do you need to get out in nature?

  4. Focus on how movement makes you feel. Instead of focusing on achieving a certain body type or appearance pay attention to you feel. Do you feel energized, relaxed, or empowered after a workout? That's what matters most.

  5. Listen to what your body is telling you. If your body is telling you to slow down or take a break, listen to those signals. Pushing through pain or discomfort can lead to injury and burnout, so it's important to prioritize your body's needs.


Rock Climbing woman


Intuitive movement is a powerful tool for promoting overall health and well-being. By focusing on movement that feels good and is aligned with your body's needs, you can build a stronger, more resilient body, reduce stress and anxiety, and develop a healthier relationship with your body.


By letting go of the idea that exercise is solely about achieving a certain body type or weight loss, you can shift the focus to overall health and wellness, making exercise a form of self-care that supports your physical, emotional, mental health and longevity. So why not give it a try? Tune in to your body, listen to its signals, and move in a way that feels good and empowering for you.


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