How Do You Find Freedom to Enjoy Physical Activity When Your Body Keeps Holding You Back?

Has your body become a source of frustration due to aging, injury, illness, or pregnancy? Do you find yourself feeling limited in engaging in physical activities that you used to enjoy? People can often feel a sense of loss or even depression when they can no longer use there bodies in the ways that they may have always taken for granted. Although it is important to come to terms with such losses, this does not mean that there are not oftentimes ways to continue enjoying beloved activities, and to even discover new components of these activities that were not previously attended to. 

What to keep in mind:

Be Open to Aspects of the Activity You Have Never Tried Before: For example, a person who used to enjoy a vigorous yoga practice but due to chronic illness can not longer partake in challenging poses, may explore other forms of yoga never considered before. A person may be surprised by what s/he finds to be excited by!

Do Not Be Afraid to Integrate Aspects of Old and New: A person may no longer have the stamina to play in soccer games but may be able to continue playing leisurely and may decide to start coaching. This new aspect of coaching me be extremely rewarding for this person and would never have been discovered if the person believed s/he had to abandon soccer all together.

Vocalize Your Needs: A person might have been used to being sexually dominant and active in his/her relationship. A change in one's physicality does not necessarily mean that s/he can no longer enjoy physical activity, such as sex. However, this requires communication. If this person is able to vocalize his/her feelings about the changes in his/her physicality, s/he may discover new and perhaps even more exciting ways of engaging intimately.

Identify the Ways Your Body Still Supports You: When a person's body frustrates, it is easy to give up on it completely and resign to believing that it will no longer allow for any physicality. This line of thinking can be a set up for feeling trapped by your body. Yes, there are new limitations, but what can your body still do? Identify those things (there will always be something you can find or else you would not be alive), and then think about what those things still allow you to do. For example, a person with neck arthritis  may no longer be able to do a headstand, but perhaps s/he can still do a down dog, which means yoga does not have to be abandoned completely.

Be Open with Your Doctor: It is important to let your doctor know how important certain activities are to you and to ask very specific questions about what you can and cannot do. Sometimes doctors are very good at providing creative solutions to such situations, and appreciate the significance of quality of life satisfaction.

Frustrations caused by the body should never be minimized. These are painfully difficult struggles. However, when a person is ready, s/he may find multiple new freedoms within the confines of the struggle