Monday, August 16, 2021

Joyful Movement: what it is & how it differs from traditional exercise


I admit, the first time I heard that terminology I rolled my eyes. I felt like it was a term they were using to try to trick me into exercising.

If I’m being honest, throughout most of my relationship with exercise over the years, I haven’t particularly enjoyed it. 😳

I always thought of exercise as something I had to do to burn off the calories from what I just ate. Or something I had to do preemptively in advance of going out to eat.

Even when I tried to focus on the health benefits of exercise, it still felt like another rule of something I had to do to be good.

If you feel the same way about exercise, I get it. I completely understand where you’re coming from.

Then, I heard about joyful movement.

Joyful movement is a way to approach exercise where you focus on pleasure. If something isn’t pleasurable, you don’t focus on that.

Thinking about exercise as a way to atone for the calories you have just eaten is not pleasurable.

Thinking about exercise as a way to give yourself permission to eat later today is also not pleasurable.

Thinking about exercise as something you have to do just to check a box isn’t pleasurable either.

Now I get it, we can’t only do things in life that are pleasurable.

👉🏾 But if there’s a way to make something more fun, why not?

That’s what thinking about exercise more as “joyful movement” has done for me.

Let me give you an example. This morning I woke up and I was debating whether I wanted to stay in bed or get up and go for a walk.

As I was trying to make my decision, my thoughts had nothing to do with my weight or the calories I would burn by walking.

I simply thought about the pleasure walking would bring me.❤️

I thought about how I love to smell the fresh air in the morning. I love hearing the birds and seeing rabbits in my neighbors’ yards.

I thought about how I love having that time to myself without any other distractions. I thought about the music I love to listen to when I’m walking or the podcasts I love to catch up on.

All of those things bring me joy. So when I focused on the joy that walking brings me, it became a no brainer.

I got out of bed, got dressed, and went for a walk.💪🏾

Now, I’ve had people tell me that walking is a waste of my time and that instead I need to do something that burns more calories like orange theory.

Here’s the thing, though. I used to do orange theory and I think it’s an amazing program. I totally get why people love it. But it brought me absolutely no joy. It did bring me a couple of injuries, but it did not bring me joy.

That’s what joyful movement is about. Rejecting other peoples’ ideas of the type of exercise you “should” be doing, and listening to yourself and figuring out what type of exercise brings you joy.

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