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Indulgence 101: moving and grooving your body


AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Remember when moving your body around—joyfully throwing yourself about at odd angles, twirling until you fell over in a dizzy heap, running away from a tag pursuer, or jubilantly dashing into a safe zone and kicking a can—was called “play” and not “exercise”? When it felt like fun and not some punishment exacted for exceeding the feed limit? This fifth article in the Indulgence series targets recapturing the utter joyful abandon of body movement.

When the article Indulgence 101: the way of the proper diet listed “movement” as one of the indulgences necessary to diet success, there were undoubtedly mutterings of “That’s not indulgence. That’s misery.” Which goes along with the ugly cultural conditioning that has made starvation diets king and the insistence that exhausting workouts are what’s necessary to achieve optimal weight and fitness.

Although caloric balance teamed up with exercise are important components to diet success, a middle road is necessary to fabulous fitness: you need to moderate your calorie consumption without deprivation, and you need to move your body on some regular basis in a way you can find gratifying if not downright pleasurable. Before even considering an exercise program, here are some ideas to have kid-like fun with movement and all its components.

Note: Add imagination and laughter to each of these and mix liberally.

  • Clap your hands! Loudly. Softly. Cackle as you clap or rub your hands together like a villain in a bad B-movie. Feel the nerve endings in your palms and fingers. Hear the sound. Feel the glee.
  • Go barefoot on carpet. On tile. On any texture available that feels good. Pay attention to the sensations on the bottom of your feet. Stomp. Kick. Jump.
  • How many ways can you move your arms to simulate flying? Imagine your arms as wings. How wide is your wingspan? Spread them out as far as you can to discover for yourself. Flap them up and down. Flap them forward and back. Feel yourself lifting up as you do it, and feel the air around you and your wings. Not bad as a bird. How about as a helicopter?
  • Go for a walk. Dress appropriately—particularly during winter months. While gearing up, you are an explorer donning your specialized equipment for a great adventure. Who will you see? (That couple you always see walking the white dog may actually be undercover.) What will you discover? How does the temperature of the air feel on your cheeks? How does the sky look? How can you see the environment around you as you’ve never seen it before? How does your body feel as you’re moving? Feel and manipulate every little thing. Turn your toes in. Out. Bend over a little. Stand straighter. Feel everything. See everything. Create outrageous stories as you move.
  • Saving the best til last, this is the promise to make you dance, laugh, sing, feel happy, and wake up. Click the embedded video below or Google YouTube Ferris Bueller Twist and Shout. Go for maximum decibels. Dance and sing along (preferably badly out of tune). Get the whole feeling of loving movement.

As you bring exercise into your world, remember to bring this feeling of love for your body in motion right along with it.

To be alerted to new articles by the Madison Diet & Exercise Examiner, click here to subscribe, and enter your email address. (Your address will not be shared.)  I love hearing from readers—email me at if you have questions, comments, or a topic you would like to see covered.

Other articles you may find of interest:
Indulgence 101:  the way of the proper diet
Indulgence 101:  satiety for diet success
Indulgence 101:  real taste, real diet success
Indulgence 101:  sleep your way to optimal weight

Water: the miracle diet elixir
Ironman is out:  a fitness plan for the less ambitious
An exercise in gratitude: giving thanks for this most imperfect miraculous body
When accumulated grief keeps you overweight


  • Roberta Baxter Eugene, OR. Dog Examiner 5 years ago

    You put this so well! TX for the great read.

  • Uben's mom, Icking, Germany 5 years ago

    Love the video!

  • Jan 5 years ago

    Always making it better and better for dieting and getting in shape.And always with a smile! Excellent ideas.Oh, and we got us a hula hoop!

  • DrStarbuck 5 years ago

    Oooo! I needed a smile at work today, and you delivered. Thanks! GREAT article.

  • gputscher 5 years ago

    Great article Liz. Let's all Twist and shout for fitness.

  • Richard C. Ryder Manning Infidelity Examiner 5 years ago

    Is it okay to swirl around even if you hear a pop in your lower back? LOL.. jk. Great article as always. :)

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