Intuitive Movement: Why You Have to Make Yourself Move

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My typical day goes like this: I get up and browse, do some freelance writing, then homeschool my youngsters. You’d assume that I’d be itching to train after a full day of sitting—and the idea of intuitive motion tells us that your physique will inform you what it wants.

However, nope! Typically, it’s the other. I attempt to “take heed to my physique,” however my physique doesn’t at all times inform me to maneuver. My thoughts is drained and distracted. Actually—if it wasn’t for my health watch reminding me to get off my duff, I’d have only a few every day steps.

As a registered dietitian, I wholeheartedly embrace intuitive consuming and delicate motion. Gone are the times after I would drive myself to do lengthy, excessive exercises for the calorie burn. I don’t really feel responsible about skipping the health club. Nonetheless, I continuously must make myself work out.

Sarcastically, after I coax myself to maneuver, I’m motivated to do extra. The saying, “A physique in movement stays in movement” appears to ring true. So how do you strike a steadiness between intuitive motion and pushing your self?

We chatted with some psychological well being and intuitive motion specialists to dive deep into the concept of motivation and train. Right here’s what they needed to say.

Are you high-energy or low-energy?

Your power degree (in fact) performs a job in your want to be energetic. You already know a high-energy individual while you see one: busy darting from one process to the subsequent, they usually by no means appear to tire. Then some people are chill—content material to sit down for hours at a time with little to no motion.

Saba Harouni Lurie, LMFT, a licensed marriage and household therapist and proprietor and founding father of Take Root Remedy, explains why our drives differ. “So many organic, psychological, and environmental components affect our differing power ranges,” she says.

It might be in your genes. “Genetic components can have an effect on our power ranges, as some folks might inherit decrease power from their households,” Lurie says. However our genes are simply the tip of the iceberg.

“Sleep and diet can even affect your power ranges, as we’d like relaxation and nourishing meals to replenish our our bodies to entry power. Psychological well being can also be an element, as some psychological well being challenges could make it troublesome to seek out power,” she says. “And continual stress can take a toll on our our bodies and contribute to emotions of fatigue. Plus, these of us raised in households the place bodily health and motion weren’t prioritized or prized, it may be difficult to have interaction in these actions and prioritize them as adults.”

Whereas these with excessive power ranges might discover it simpler to prioritize motion, lower-energy people must be a bit extra intentional.

Whereas these with excessive power ranges might discover it simpler to prioritize motion, lower-energy people must be a bit extra intentional. “It’s useful to just accept that you just’re not somebody who is of course excessive power or excited to maneuver, and that is okay,” Lurie says. “Ranging from a spot of acceptance and non-judgment can can help you think about who you might be and what’s reasonable for you as a place to begin.”

Motivation to train

I’ve accepted that I’m a mellow individual, however I do know I must get common motion for my well being—and I do know from expertise that it feels good.

“It’s regular to need to maneuver your physique however to battle to truly get your self to maneuver,” says Alexis Hart, LMSW, a licensed medical social employee and consuming dysfunction specialist in Michigan says. So the place does motivation come from?

Intrinsic motivation vs. extrinsic motivation

Let’s discover the concept of motivation: Analysis has discovered that 1an individual is both intrinsically or extrinsically motivated.

Extrinsic motivation is fueled by some exterior supply. Food regimen tradition is steeped in extrinsic motivation. For instance, you’re employed out to drop some pounds/inches or to keep away from disgrace. You select the stair-stepper, not since you prefer it, however as a result of it burns probably the most energy. Or the one you love or medical supplier desires you to train. You “have” to do it.

Then again, intrinsic motivation comes from inside. You really take pleasure in motion and also you’re enthusiastic about doing it. It’s satisfying. Quite than struggling by means of a exercise, you “need” to take part.

So which one sounds probably the most conducive to common motion? Intrinsic motivation. If you happen to love doing one thing, you’re extra prone to comply with by means of. Nonetheless, due to previous experiences, you might tie bodily exercise to distress.

The hot button is to modify from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation. “Oftentimes, individuals who hate exercising have a historical past of exercising in a punishing, exhausting, or unsustainable approach. For these people, intuitive motion will probably be a robust shift in how to consider train,” says Hart. “Normally, intuitive motion will really feel mild in your physique and go away you feeling refreshed afterward. That refreshed feeling is commonly what makes folks need to proceed to observe intuitive motion.”

What’s intuitive motion?

Intuitive motion is something you want. You tune in to what your thoughts and physique need. You’re not taking note of inflexible guidelines or metrics like calorie burn. Quite you might be discovering one thing you really take pleasure in doing.

You additionally use your physique’s indicators to information your motion. The mantra, “No ache, no achieve” isn’t honoring your physique’s inner cues. When one thing hurts with intuitive motion, you don’t maintain pushing.

“As a result of intuitive motion is supposed to be pleasurable and never punishing, it’s typically simpler to start out, particularly on low-motivation days. Usually people discover that after they begin, they really feel extra energetic and motivated to proceed,” Hart says.

The way to gently nudge your self to motion

If you happen to’re used to “disciplining” your self with rigorous bodily exercise, the concept of intuitive motion could seem overseas. You are additionally not prone to really feel internally motivated after a protracted day of psychological work. Listed below are some tricks to get energized and shifting:

Begin small

Understanding you must do a 30-to 60-minute exercise could be daunting, particularly if you happen to’ve been working all day.

“Decide a kind of motion that’s enjoyable and accessible (e.g. strolling the canine, dancing at house, yoga at your desk, your favourite sport) and commit to five minutes—no extra, no much less!” says Hart. “If after 5 minutes, you’re not feeling higher, permit your self to cease. If the motion is feeling good, it’s okay to go for longer, however you’ll want to to cease earlier than you’re fatigued.”

Over time, she explains, this can construct your mind-body connection and self-trust, that are each key to shifting intuitively.

Select enjoyable

Crank up the tunes and dance. Set strolling dates along with your bestie. Take a karate or self-defense class. Or simply play along with your youngsters. Bear in mind: Motion doesn’t should be on the health club.

“I at all times encourage my shoppers to think about what they’re doing that is already aligned with their want to maneuver and see if they’ll do extra,” Lurie says. “That may be taking your canine for a stroll or taking the steps while you get to the workplace.”

Add selection

While you’re altering issues up, you’ll be extra motivated2 to train. You don’t should do the identical factor all the time. Whether or not you have got exercise seasons otherwise you combine weight coaching with yoga and working, selection will maintain you .

It’s typically after I’m within the routine of doing the identical exercises that I lack motivation to maneuver. Trying up a brand new health video or permitting myself to go “off-plan” will get me excited to train.

Keep away from evaluating

We have a tendency to check what we’re doing (or what we appear like) with these round us. However you don’t should comply with anybody’s routine if you happen to don’t prefer it.

“It has helped me to know that what works for others might not work for me, and that is okay,” Lurie shares. “Permitting myself to honor what’s pleasurable for me and what I take pleasure in has been liberating and inspiring.”

Light motion continues to be train

Caroline Younger, MS, RD, RYT, registered yoga trainer and proprietor of Entire Self Diet, is a believer in mild motion for the connection issue. “Types of mild motion, like yoga or tai chi, are embodiment practices, that means they enable you join or reconnect along with your physique, together with to its messages and desires.”

“While you’re linked to your physique in such a approach, chances are high excessive that you’ll discover when it wants to maneuver all through the day, together with all of its different wants like starvation and thirst,” Younger says. “When deliberately connecting to your physique by means of embodied motion, you might be letting it know that you’re there to honor its wants, together with when it wants a stroll, stretch, or dance.”

Clear up adverse self-talk

It may be useful to ditch your limiting beliefs. Younger shares examples of such ideas:

  • “It solely counts if I train for 45 minutes.”
  • “Strolling is not train.”
  • “Yoga is not sufficient.”
  • “I’ve to train to eat what I need.”
  • “If I eat dessert, I’ve to train extra.”

These concepts are likely to stem from a food plan mentality and “drive” you to train, which isn’t sustainable.

“These [ideas] must be acknowledged, explored, challenged, and changed by wholesome beliefs and behaviors, so you may reclaim train and let or not it’s one a part of your self-care routine and a supply of pleasure in life,” encourages Younger.

Permit your self to relaxation

Your lack of want to maneuver could also be rooted in fatigue. If a brief stroll doesn’t increase your power, leisure could also be what you want.

The 5-minute trick is often sufficient to snap me out of labor mode and recharge my batteries. But when I nonetheless really feel sluggish, I allow myself to cease. Intuitive motion respects the physique’s cues.

“Motivation typically follows exercise however not at all times,” Hart says. “Typically our our bodies are genuinely craving relaxation, and honoring this is a crucial a part of an intuitive motion observe.”


Properly+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, current, sturdy research to again up the knowledge we share. You may belief us alongside your wellness journey.


  1. Ntoumanis N, Ng JYY, Prestwich A, et al. A meta-analysis of self-determination theory-informed intervention research within the well being area: results on motivation, well being conduct, bodily, and psychological well being. Well being Psychol Rev. 2021;15(2):214-244. doi:10.1080/17437199.2020.1718529

  2. Sylvester BD, Standage M, Ark TK, et al. Is selection a spice of (an energetic) life?: perceived selection, train conduct, and the mediating position of autonomous motivation. J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2014;36(5):516-527. doi:10.1123/jsep.2014-0102