The Role of Exercise in your Healing Journey

It seems anytime you talk about exercise you’re supposed to talk about weight loss. That’s the primary benefit, right? This is actually false. For a survivor of child sexual abuse, exercise has myriad benefits (and weight loss isn’t even one of them).

When you take the time to practice self-care, that includes finding a way to exercise regularly. That can be overwhelming–especially with the glut of information out there about the “best” way to do pretty much anything and everything.

Before we give you 5 Easy Tips to Exercise Every Day, let’s start by listing the health benefits of daily exercise (for even more information on this, read the book Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield):

  • Increased happiness
  • More energy
  • A greater connection to your body (especially important for a survivor)
  • Better sleep
  • Improved memory
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Less stress
  • Alleviated anxiety
  • Greater creativity
  • Decreased cognitive decline

With so many benefits, what’s stopping you from exercising every day? It probably has something to do with time, energy, confusion of where to start, or something else along those lines. Here are 5 EASY tips for exercising every day:

1. Make it fun.

When did we stop thinking that exercise could be fun? Find something that you love doing, even if you’re not great at it. Try roller skating, aerial silks, take a tango class, or just play tag with your kids outside. Whatever you decide to do, make it fun!

2. Do it every day, it doesn’t matter how long.

Consistency is key. Even if you only exercise 10 minutes a day, you’ll see the benefits.

3. Be mindful.

Use this time to check in with your body. Don’t just go through the motions; really feel your body moving and flexing and stretching. Listen to your heartbeat and pay attention to your breathing.

4. If at first you don’t succeed…

Don’t give up. If you miss a day, an exercise doesn’t help, or you find yourself being triggered by something, make adjustments. Don’t give up on exercising altogether. Try something different, commit again, just keep trying.

5. Schedule it.

If you don’t make time for something, you’ll never have time for it. When you’re planning your day, formally or informally, decide when and where you’re going to exercise. It can be as simple as, “I’m going to take the stairs back up to the 6th floor after lunch at work today.”

Exercise will be an incredible help on your healing journey. Take the time to make it a priority, along with your other self-care practices. Make the goal feeling better, not looking better, and you might find that your relationship with exercise changes in a positive way. It’s worth a try, right?