Whether we’re trying to make moves in the gym, or even just within our own lives, the mental pressure we may put on ourselves to perform can often keep us from taking that first step.

At Recess, we believe that everyone deserves fitness on their own terms—and their own timing. We also think working out should be a good experience.

in 2022, we’re going to try setting intentions, instead of goals, for our physical (and mental) health. How can we simply commit to movement, in some way shape or form, everyday?

ready to go

To kick this theme off, we sat down to chat with a few coaches about setting intentions for exercise and movement in our daily lives.

“I’ve found that everything comes down to intention,” personal coach Kelley Denison says. “At the beginning of every workout or Yoga/Pilates practice, I always ask myself, ‘What’s my intention?’ Planting the intention seed at the beginning supports the space I want to create for myself in mind and body.”

When we push ourselves towards chaos or burnout it affects our well-being and our performance in any given situation. Health and wellness writer Kendra Koch says that although this is a challenge for her it’s important to her, too.

“Personally, I try to remember the fourth agreement in the book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, which is, ‘always do your best.’ Sometimes, my best looks like requesting an extension on a deadline and taking a nap. Even though I’d rather hit all of my deadlines, sometimes life gets in the way and rest is more productive than powering through and doing mediocre work.”

Finding ways to slow down so that you move your mind & body doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are 5 easy things to try, to start:

No. 1 — Get outside: Being one with nature has been proven to help calm your overall presence. Combining movement and the outdoors can encourage you to push yourself more. (For example, maybe you intended just to take a walk and you end up jogging.) Shedding the feeling of stress gives you permission to move your body in more ways than one.

No. 2 — Adopt a breath routine: By simply taking three deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth it can help you to slow down and release any tension in your mind and body. This can open you up to more movement, or simply get you in a headspace where you’re connected to yourself physically. “Whether I am coaching clients through Forgiveness, Life or Mind/Bodywork, we always begin with Breath work. This creates a grounded and clear space to discover the purest intentions,” shares Denison.

No. 3 — Commit to disconnect: Find regular time to turn off the outside noise. If you can’t find the time to exercise, just start putting 10 minutes aside to simply sit, stretch or avoid screen time. With practice, that disconnection time could grow into something more, whether it’s a mid-day walk for lunch or a weekly boxing routine.

Or it could simply become part of your digital detox routine in support of your mental health, Nyeesha D. Williams, a Mental Wellness Practitioner, Author, and Humanitarian says. “I’m currently on my social media detox. That means no Instagram, no Twitter, and no Facebook. In my line of work, holistic business growth, we teach how to keep an authentic tone on social media but I don’t believe we talk about how tiresome that can be. Constant scheduling, posting, liking pictures, commenting, and let’s not forget the appropriate hashtags, f4f (follow for follow), filters on photos, and the gruesome algorithm updates. I take quarterly breaks, stay transparent about my ups and downs, focus on my mental health, and constantly learn the best tactics and strategies that serve me and my business.”

No. 4 — Find your people. Connect with fitness communities that are committed to non-judgment: Sometimes removing pressure from your life is not an act that can be done alone. “My clients are encouraged by the simple act of non-judgment,” Williams says. “They come to us as themselves. Whether in full control or feeling like they have none, we show up for them mentally, physically, and financially.”

No. 5 — Give yourself a break. Some weeks are tougher than others: If your movement routine takes a hit one week, just brush it off and start again. This is something that Koch puts into practice when dealing with her clients, too. “If the work doesn’t look quite right, or a client misses a deadline, first I try to check-in. Often, I find out they had a sick kid at home, were battling anxiety, or had too much work on their plate. Together, we try to resolve the underlying issue,” she explains.

Finding time to move helps us  feel supported, empowered & at peace. What habits will you start for a better movement journey in 2022?

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