Mindful movement

By Danielle Johnson MS, RDN, CDN, CPT

In today’s day and age, we are constantly bombarded with messages about health and what we should be doing. Sometimes we forget to ask ourselves what we WANT to do, or what we LIKE to do. We blindly follow the next best trend that magazines, social media, or the news are promoting without realizing we may be neglecting ourselves mentally and physically. If your goal is to choose exercise that feels good for your body, improves your overall health and is enjoyable then consider mindful movement! What does this mean? Utilize mindfulness skills (awareness, observation, nonjudgement, acceptance, in-the-moment) to improve your relationship and consistency with your exercise plan.

Exercise or movement that is good for our mind, body, and soul it should  have four goals:

  • Rejuvenate the body, not exhaust, or deplete it
  • Enhance the mind-body connection and coordination, not confuse, or dysregulate it
  • Alleviate mental and physical stress, not contribute, and exacerbate stress
  • Provide genuine enjoyment and pleasure, not to provide pain and be punitive

Raise your awareness and observe your thoughts, feelings, and energy levels before, during and after movement. Compare the differences of before/during/after and ask yourself if this exercise plan is right for you. Are you excited for it, or do you dread it? Does it energize you afterward, or exhaust you? Does it put you in a good mood, or does it make you cranky/annoyed/sad? The latter choice to those questions may be a sign that your exercise plan is not right for you, and it might be a good idea to explore something new and better suited for you.

Other questions to consider:

  • What is your relationship to exercise like now compared to the past?
  • Does exercise trigger negative behaviors? (example: skipping meals, exercising to burnout, ruminating negative thoughts about body)
  • What does exercise look like for you when its supportive of your healthy self?
  • In your dream world, how does physical activity fit in to your life?
  • What are your thoughts on the “four components” for mindful movement?
  • What are your core values for life, and what is one thing you’d like to start doing to align your relationship to exercise with your values?


Source: Marci RD Nutrition, Food & Body Image Healers

Danielle Johnson MS, RDN, CDN, CPT is a registered dietitian who works in the Department of Bariatrics/  Center of Excellence at Mather Hospital, where she specializes in surgical weight loss and medical weight management. She is completing her Master of Science in Integrative Nutrition at Stony Brook University.