Integrating exercise or movement back into a routine when you’re recovering from an Eating Disorder can be challenging, here are my top tips to help you get started.
1. Start slow, and have a plan and stick to it. Work on integrating one movement session into your normal routine and feeling comfortable with that before building to the next one. Work out the time frame you want to exercise for – 45 mins to 1 hour and plan what you will do during this time.
Don’t start haphazardly as you’re more likely to overdo or under do it. After each session review and reflect on what feelings came up for you? If you have a support team share your feelings with them.
2. A lot of people have found Yoga to be very beneficial during Recovery. Yoga can help to quieten the mind whilst also bringing awareness to your body position, muscles and movements. It can be challenging to sit in silence but it gets easier with time and practice. If you can I would recommend adding yoga into your schedule once a week either in a class or there are many classes you can access online.
3. Don’t feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing, movement doesn’t have to be in a gym and it doesn’t have to be hot and sweaty. Think about movement as something that brings pleasure and fun and take the focus away from calories burnt.
Some activities that you might like to consider are trying a dance class, hip-hop, salsa, contemporary. If you can try something outdoors bushwalking, kayaking or SUP.
If you like sky high movement Ariel silks, acrobatics and even adult gymnastics are really fun options.
4. If you are thinking about going into a gym environment a group class can be a fun environment with music, choreography and a good social environment. They are time capped and classes usually go for 45 minutes or 1 hour.
It is important to be aware of your triggers, avoid classes that focus on calories burnt, heart rate monitors or competing against each other. Also be aware that some instructors will also use food or body shaming as ways to motivate clients, this is not okay, if this occurs I suggest you leave the class.
5. For resistance training, I highly recommend getting the support of a trainer who has an understanding of eating disorders. Resistance training is great for strengthening bones, muscles, ligaments and can help to make a mind-muscle connection which creates mindful movement.
Having a structured program can help you to track your progress and also keep you from feeling confused or overwhelmed by all the machines and weights. Growing in strength and feeling what your body can do over how it appears can be a wonderful part of recovery.
6. Ditch the fitness trackers and avoid spending too much time in the cardio area, the constant display of calories is not beneficial for anyone. The benefits of taking a walk outside in the fresh air include mental clarity, reduced stress and anxiety and improved focus. Set aside 30 minutes and see if you can focus on the smells, sights and sounds around you. There are also some mindfulness apps that focus on ‘mindful walking’.
For more tips from trainers all over Australia, you can read the full article here.