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Gentle movement on a pilates mat

Has the exercise message been movement at any cost?

Have you ever felt the message was ‘movement at any cost?

I was speaking with a client recently who felt this was very much the message she had always perceived. We need to exercise, you must do it every day no matter what, even if it takes an hour or more. Regardless of how you feel or what the body is telling you. And if you don’t do them, you are failing or lazy. This is not the way forward. It is not healthy physically or mentally.

I advocate a no pain, no strain movement strategy as opposed to no pain, no gain. Movement should not be at any cost. I aim to have my clients enjoy movement and look forward to it because it does make you feel better connected, stronger, relaxed, and empowered.

If we’re feeling exercise is something we’ve been forced to do – with fear of judgement if we don’t – that’s never going to result in a pain-free body. The calming of the nervous system is an integral part of my method – we work to remove fear before we even get to movement. Moving with tension-led patterns in the body and mind will never allow the body to relax into movement and patterns will not change.

If we have a no pain, no strain approach we’re going to listen to our body. We will have greater insight. We can learn to safely find our baseline where we can exercise without causing a flare-up. If that baseline is low, it doesn’t matter. We want to start to find patterns that don’t induce flare-ups and demotivation. Then we start to ease off that boom-and-bust curve. We want a gentle gradient rather than big peaks and dips.

I mentioned recently I prefer to use the word ‘movement’ rather than ‘exercise’. Exercise can induce bad memories for some people. Try to build movement into your daily life – being present in daily activities will work too. Heel raises while brushing your teeth or feeling how we reach up to a cupboard.

Exercise doesn’t have to be on an exercise mat and some days lying on your bed breathing and softening will be the best movement practice you need. Listen to your body and be guided by it. My YouTube channel is full of classes and movement practices that help teach us to listen to our body and avoid the no pain, no gain approach. EDS / HSD bodies are different. They need to be treated differently to get optimum results.

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