Find YOUR joyful movement! Joyful movement is a positive, nonjudgmental approach to physical activity that involves finding pleasure in the ways we move our bodies. Since gyms are closed, experiment with new (or tried and true) ways to move your body. Maybe try a new YouTube yoga video, download a fitness app, rent/ride a bike, or learn Tai Chi. Perhaps you prefer kickboxing, rollerblading, or skipping. If you are new to movement, try stretching first. Loosen tight hips with these stretches before going on a walk; open up your shoulders upon waking with these*. Find a few movement-based activities that you enjoy, and rotate through them. The key to joyful movement is that it is not punishment, but rather enjoyment!
*Do not attempt these stretches if you have a history of arm, shoulder, back, or hip injuries. Consult with your doctor before you start an exercise program. Remember to take it slow!
Use movement to manage stress! Because of the role it plays in regulating hormones, movement of any kind actually aids in stress relief. If you are moving more vigorously (i.e. jog, hike, bike ride, or dancing), your brain will release feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Movement can also stimulate the release of dopamine, a hormone that is housed in the brain and is responsible for reducing stress and even depression. Ever wonder why you feel so tired after a long hike? Movement releases serotonin, which promotes a good night's sleep, mood regulation, and digestion.
Stay accountable! If you own a fitness tracker, track your steps. Try to add 4,000 above your current step count OR greater than 10,000 steps per day. Use that exercise equipment in your home that has become a drying rack or lost in a back room or garage. If you work from home, stand up for 10 minutes each hour. If you're on the phone, pace around the room or your entire home.
Make it social! Involve your family or children in movement-based activities. Go on a hike or walk together before or after dinner, and take the family pet(s). Learn a TikTok or YouTube dance and post it to social media. Have a dance party or pillow fight. Create a scavenger hunt. If you track your steps, compete with your friends and family. Motivate each other. If you live alone, make time to walk and talk. Call a friend or family member during a daily walk, but remember to stay alert!
Set goals to challenge yourself! Have you always wanted to touch your toes, do a push-up/pull-up, or hold a plank? Think about a fitness goal you'd like to achieve and take steps each day. If you don't have a fitness goal, what about lifestyle goals? Maybe you want to deep clean your entire house; select a drawer, closet, or shelf to organize and clean each day. Garden or do general yard work that you have put off. Set small, realistic goals that you can accomplish each week.
Get creative, but keep it fun! Don't have exercise equipment at home? No worries! Weight lift with canned food, water jugs, or your dog or cat. Do step-ups using stairs or a stable chair or step ladder. Toss and catch bagged food such as potatoes or beans. Listen to a podcast when moving, or create/find a playlist with your favorite tunes. If you enjoy walking, try some of these ideas to mix it up!
Explore these FREE fitness apps (available on Android and iOS):
- Best features: personalized schedule of classes for your needs, access to all free workouts at any time, excellent variety
- 7-Minute Workout
- Best features: good for users who want a quick and accessible workout, create custom routines, no equipment needed
- Yoga for Beginners
- Best features: short classes for users who are new to yoga or want a quick workout, great selection of classes