The Importance of a Daily Movement Practice

As of today, February 27th, 2020, I have been doing 100 burpees every day, since November 11th, 2019. How many days is that? 19 days in November + 31 in December +31 in January +27 in February (up until now) = 108 days. Over 100 days! Before November 11th, I hadn’t missed since September 8th, and took a few more breaks in August. Needless to say, I’ve been doing lots of burpees. Why? I chose burpees as my exercise for its full body, all-encompassing, highly beneficial & super challenging qualities. 

Since burpees are mainly a sagittal plane movement, I usually add jumping jacks for a frontal plane movement, and fast feet, sometimes with twists, for transverse plane movement to get a thorough 360 degree full body workout. But my heart is set on burpees. Wait, I thought this post was about a daily practice or something? Why are you talking about burpees, michelle? Because it’s my daily practice, for now. It doesn’t matter what exercise you gravitate towards. Some find their flow in running (I kept a running streak for years), or weight-lifting, or yoga, or another bodyweight exercise. Having a daily practice is precious. Here’s why.

planes of motion
planes of motion

It can be manageable. 

I tend to be masochistic in my exercise behaviors, & have learned (better) how to rein that part of me in, for the sake of keeping my body intact, and practicing self-love. I in no way want to encourage unhealthy behaviors, or give license to self-abuse. I do believe, however –illness & imposing circumstances aside– that most of us are capable of practicing something every day. Maybe it’s 10 squats. Maybe it’s going out for a walk, or run, however long. Perhaps it’s practicing flexibility through mobility work or yoga. Whatever you choose, make it doable. You don’t even have to progressively increase repetitions, or length of time, unless you want to. Keep a low baseline, so you are capable of following through. 

It is a form of self-love.

One thing I’ve learned recently, from Dr. Nicole LePera, is the importance of keeping promises to yourself. She says that we betray ourselves by not keeping our own promises & commitments to ourselves; conversely, we practice self-care & learn to trust ourselves by honoring our contracts with ourselves. Self-love isn’t woo woo mantras & blind acceptance. No, no, no. Having taught numerous children, I have seen firsthand that setting boundaries, being firm, and creating consequences is an act of love. We feel safe with rules & expectations. & as adults, this is a way to parent our childhood selves, to care for our souls. “Loving yourself” can seem like a phantom feeling or concept. But making decisions & acting based on the assumption that you are valuable & worthy –that is love. Set some rules & expectations for yourself. Follow through. That feels like love. 

It provides physical benefits.

What do you think would happen if you decided to do your thing every day for a week, a month, a year? How would your physical and mental health improve? I remember the first few times I attempted 100 burpees. I remember feeling like my lungs were going to combust, like my arms & legs were burning. And I remember making a sub 10 minute finish my goal. That was about 6 years ago. The thing about burpees is that they are hard, no matter what. But they do get easier. And now my next goal is to finish 100 in less than 5 minutes (my record is 5:35). Practicing something daily inevitably leads to progress, no matter how slow or how long it takes. That is something to be proud of. 

A daily practice doesn’t have to be forever.

You can change or continue it as you desire.

Just kindle the flame into a fire.

Don’t make yourself into a liar.

Become someone whom you admire.

And take yourself higher & higher. 

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