“I love being able to match exercise with how I want to feel.”

Welcome to Part 7 of ‘Why We Move’. *

Next up we have Emma from Fun, Food and Fitness. In her own words, Emma is an anti-diet fitness coach and writer. She has a PhD in Health Psychology and a level 3 certification in personal training. She helps people build a healthy relationship with food, exercise and their bodies and advocates joyful movement as a way for people to reconnect with themselves, mentally and physically.

I have followed Emma for quite some time now, and her unique way of breaking down intuitive eating myths is accessible, creative and fun.  I have shared her posts more times than I can mention;)

Here’s our chat:

Q.1 What do you define as ‘joyful movement’? 

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For me, joyful movement is anything that feels good for me, mentally and physically. That changes depending on what season it is, where my energy levels are, and what is going on in the world around me. Right now running and yoga are what I’m enjoying most.  

 

Q.2 What is your earliest memory of moving for fun and pure joy? 

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I have always loved dancing and started doing ballet when I was around 3 years old. I did it with a friend of mine and although I don’t think we paid much attention to what they teacher was saying, we had lots of fun with our ‘freestyle’ approach! 

 

Q.3 Do you feel you listen to your body as far as movement is concerned or do you follow a specific programme or schedule? 

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Both. I don’t see following a programme and listening to your body as mutually exclusive. If I have a specific goal (for example, I’m currently training for a half marathon), I follow a training programme but always give myself the flexibility to modify or skip sessions if needed. I see a plan as a guideline, not a rigid set of rules. I’ve also had long periods without training for a specific goal and have equally valued that time. Sometimes it’s nice to just go with the flow.  

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Q.4 If exercise had ZERO impact on how your body looks, would your exercise choices be different? 

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There are certainly times in the past when I did exercise in an attempt to change my body. For example, weight training in the gym to build muscle in specific areas, or doing cardio for the purpose of fat loss. That hasn’t been the case for a number of years though.  

 My body never actually changed much as a result of training in a specific way, and I think that actually really helped in freeing myself up to try different activities.  

 Now I don’t have any attachment to how my body looks, and it’s not something I think about at all when making decisions about exercise. 

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Q.5 Why do you move?  (What motivates you and how does movement make you feel?) 

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For me, it’s about mental and physical wellbeing. I love the chance to switch off from everything and tune into what’s going on in my body. I also love being able to match exercise with how I want to feel. I know that something like yoga will be calming, whereas something like running or dancing will be energising.  

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                                                                      ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡ 

*This is a series of interviews with fitness professionals who advocate joyful and intuitive movement.

Photos by Emma Pharoah