Why do I care about moving my body when I can’t go anywhere anyway?!?

It is so tempting, when we’re overwhelmed, tired, scared, worried, sad, and all the other things we all are these days, to just hunker down.  Binge some mindless shows, scroll endlessly through the news, or just sit.  I’ve done my fair share of all of these and, in doses, there is nothing at all wrong with any of them.

But if I don’t move my body in any real way all day…if I get to evening and realize my body has essentially been stuck in the same position for hours, that’s a red flag.  If that happens, I know with almost certainty that even though I may feel ‘fine’, my mood and spirit are already plummeting, and coming days will not feel at all fine unless I make a shift in my body.  Trauma (and living through a pandemic is an individual and collective trauma, we are all there) can get stuck in our bodies.  Movement gives trauma a way to get out and a way to feel in control of something, which is so important in this time when so very much is out of our control.

If you had an exercise routine pre-pandemic, fantastic!  Please, please, keep it up, even if you have to join your gym classes via Zoom or lift weights using piles of books.  If you were not an exerciser before, this is unlikely a time in which you will feel motivated to do so–it’s a hard routine to develop at the best of times, which this is not!  But there are still ways to get moving.  Yoga, gardening and exploring are a few of my personal favorites and can work for all fitness levels.  So, a few free resources for exercisers and non-exercisers alike…

Resources to get moving in Maine, even if you don’t like exercise

Do Yoga With Me is a fantastic website out of Canada.  They have dozens and dozens of high quality, free yoga videos for all ages, experience levels, and body types.  Recently, they are adding a bunch of new videos for kids and families.  Often, videos are filmed in beautiful outdoor locations so there is an added bonus of ocean and mountain views.  Full disclosure…I am no yoga expert.  I only started doing yoga because my body isn’t 20 anymore and started hurting a lot when I pushed it in my preferred ways of exercising.  Over the course of a few years, I begrudgingly accepted how much better my body feels when yoga is a regular part of my routine.  Since the pandemic started, it feels even more important for both my body AND mind to regularly practice with presence, acceptance, incremental growth, and flexibility.

Maine By Foot is a great way to find trails you may not have heard about and are likely not as crowded as so many of our more familiar beautiful locations are these days.  From what I can tell, one person put together this state wide account of trails small and large, rural and urban, and that in itself is an inspiration to move!  You can filter by town or look at the entire map for tons of options.

Maine Trail Finder is another excellent guide to the state’s well and less well known publicly accessible natural areas.

We are so lucky to live in a place with such abundant outdoor access.  Even with some of our biggest parks and beaches closed for now, we have abundant options for moving outdoors and connecting with nature.  I’ve talked with several clients recently who feel like they cannot leave their homes no matter what, and I want to emphasize that outdoor exercise is designated as essential for a really good reason.  Moving and being outside is essential to our well-being.  Do it.  If you need to drive to a trailhead, go for it.  You will not get in trouble, and you will not get sick from driving and walking on a trail, as long as you practice social distancing and hygiene and all that good stuff.

I do fully appreciate how impossible it feels sometimes to move.  This can be a paralyzing experience.  But it doesn’t have to be.  We get to choose how we move and when, and it will feel better every time you do.