Not everyone was born to run, but we were all born to move. If you think that keeping fit only equates to slogging it out, sweating, or racking-up miles—don’t throw in the towel! (Unless you love that stuff, in which case get yourself a special jazzy workout towel and power on!)
It’s important to understand that exercise isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair, and sometimes a fresh approach is all that’s needed to embrace active living. Switch your perspective from “exercise” to simply “moving” or “staying active.”
Focus on the positive ways exercise makes you feel—be it more energized, calmer and de-stressed, stronger and healthier—rather than how it makes you look or the number it corresponds to on the scale. Exercise is a gift to yourself; an investment in your wellbeing, just like brushing your teeth or drinking green smoothies. Deep down, we’re all sporty sisters—it might just look different for you than it does for your own sister or friend or the abs-flashing fitness junkie on your Instagram feed. If you’re unsure of the type of movement that will make you fall in love with being active all over again (it’s possible, we promise!), maybe one of these tools—from the ancient to the esoteric to the highly practical—will give you a clue.
Find Out Your Blood Type
Relating to theories outlined in Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo’s classic book The Blood Type Diet, blood type O is a ‘hunter-gatherer’ personality who tends to be strong and athletic, thriving on cardio, high intensity and plyometric workouts. Type A on the other hand, is a more sensitive species (our founding farmers, in fact), better suited to long, slow exercise that doesn’t raise cortisol levels—think yoga, Pilates, walking and isometric training. Type B apparently descends from nomads, and responds well to low-impact cardio such as cycling, swimming, tennis and resistance training.
This ancient Hindu medical system divides patients into three body types or Doshas, depending on your constitution and body type. Vata (air) is naturally leaner with good flexibility, but less strength and endurance. While Vata is attracted to fast-paced activity, strength training to build muscle and gentle, calming exercise including tai chi, yoga and swimming is important to keep them in balance. Pitta (fire and water) is a more muscular, medium build that builds heat quickly, with a tendency to push themselves too hard. To balance Pitta, solitary sports such as surfing, swimming, skiing and hiking are prescribed. Kapha (earth and water), tends toward being heavier and softer, with good endurance. It’s important for Kapha to stay active with stimulating activities such as aerobics, running and power yoga.
Look to the Stars
If you’re into astrology, there’s a lot to be gleaned from your birth sign. Each sign of the zodiac rules different parts of the body and displays different temperaments. Aries, for instance, is fuelled by fire, enjoying building a sweat, but overdoing-it can lead to injury and burnout. Gemini is naturally active and needs to mix things up regularly to avoid boredom, thriving on team and partner sports with an element of mental challenge. Librans should take care of their lower backs (avoid heavy lifting!) and are naturally attracted to more feminine, luxurious forms of exercise such as ice-skating and yoga, while watery Pisces is happiest when swimming and surfing.
Most forms of organized fitness, from yoga to kickboxing clubs, to circuit training groups offer introductory deals. Try a different one each week (and nab yourself a bargain in the process) until you find your favourite.
Make Life Your gym
Walking the dog, dancing in your living room, jumping on the trampoline with the kids, cycling to work, all contribute to one thing: Moving your body. It doesn’t always have to have a prescribed timeslot or fancy name to be a form of exercise. Move more, worry less.
What form of moving works for you? Let us know in the comments below!