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How I Exercise with Kindness

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I exercise to nourish my body, not to punish it.

I actually exercise less these days because of my commitment to tune into my body and really listen to it. Some days I wake up a little tired, which means I’ll rest and take it easy. Some days I wake up energised which means I’ll do one of my favourite workouts. These days that ranges from walking, yoga or a HIIT session.

I used to feel so much pressure to do a hardcore workout everyday as part of the diet culture mentality of “burning off calories.” Exercise used to be about punishing myself for me “diets sins”. Looking back, I feel sad that I had this relationship with myself, but proud of where I have come to now, healthy and happy!

The moment I started exercising with kindness and balance, my relationship with my body changed. Here are five tips embracing this yourself:

  1. Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body is feeling each day and adjust your workout routine accordingly. If you’re feeling tired, consider taking a rest day or doing a lighter workout.
  2. Choose activities you enjoy: I truly believe exercise should be enjoyable, so choose activities that you look forward to doing. Whether it’s dancing, hiking, or weightlifting, find something that makes you feel good. Personally, I love doing the workouts in the JSHealth App – there’s something for every mood, from HIIT and strength training to yoga and meditation… and if you don’t have much time, there’s great options that are just 10 minutes!
  3. Focus on progress, not perfection: Instead of striving for perfection (which simply doesn’t exist and causes so much stress) in your workouts, focus on progress. Celebrate small victories and improvements, such as adding an extra rep or walking an extra kilometer.
  4. Avoid negative self-talk: Reframe negative self-talk around exercise into positive affirmations. Instead of saying “I have to workout to burn off those calories,” say “I’m going to workout to feel strong and energised.”
  5. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself, always. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a workout or not performing as well as you’d like. Remember that exercise is just one aspect of your overall health and wellness, and it should have flexibility just like all areas of your life – it’s the JSHealth way!

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