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Exercise vs. Joyful Movement Shifting the mindset

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

By: Grace Buffa NBC-HWC, ERYT, LPTA

Imagine all the ways to complete this statement: Exercise is...

· Something I have to do to lose weight

· For athletes

· Hard and sweaty

· Not fun

· Prescribed by my doctor

· Something I am not good at

· Embarrassing


There are many people who thrive on intense workouts, crave them actually. I have lifted weights in the gym for many years, but I was never a “die hard”. Let’s be honest, sometimes I can’t wait til it is over! Now that I am older and wiser, I have found other activities that make me sweat and feed my soul all at the same time! I figured this out many years ago when I discovered yoga. I LOVE that I am challenging my body, strengthening my muscles and becoming more flexible in my joints and in my mind. The best part of yoga for me is that it nourishes every part of my being. I enjoy every moment from beginning to end.

Another movement that I LOVE is biking outside. There is something to be said about the warm air and sun hitting my face with some good tunes in my ears. This makes my heart sing! If I am having a bad day, all I need to do (if its spring, summer or fall in Michigan) is go biking. This helps ground and center me. To have rational thinking and want to “Respond” instead of “REACT” to life. All the while elevating my heart rate and keeping me feeling good in body after I am done.

This is a different perspective of looking at exercise. It’s called Joyful movement. The focus is on finding an activity that you enjoy and can’t wait to do. This way getting exercise in at least 3 times a week is easy. When we have a pleasurable feeling linked with the activity it becomes a habit that serves us well.

When I started to discover that movement can be fun and enjoyable the results just would come easier.

So, ask yourself: What activities are fun? What do you want to do?

You will start to find activities that you crave and it will open your mind to how many different ways there are to move that are not punishing.

Here is how to NOT shame yourself or “should” yourself into movement and how to find JOY.

At this time, lets channel your inner child and think back. Was it fun to run through the sprinklers, dancing with music videos, or bouncing a ball off the side of your house? Think of all the fun you could have if feeling old and silly didn’t get in the way.

Think about what you did as a child? How about jumping on a trampoline. The grown-up term is “Rebounding” there are so many benefits to jumping on a trampoline like losing weight, reducing stress levels and your risk of heart disease and strokes. WHO KNEW!

Next, think about partnering up with a friend. Friends have a way of amplifying motivation and fun while mitigating self-consciousness.

When I use to run outside, I would go with a friend. We would share great conversations that would also make the time fly by faster all the while keeping each other motivated to finish the run. Even when I walk with one of my other girlfriends we could walk for miles because we are so engaged in conversation. You are not only motivated and moving, but you are getting some good “girl time” in and that is great for self-care!

My friends and I always remind each other how good we feel when we get done if one of us isn’t feeling like doing the activity.

For moms with young children there is something liberating when you are running behind a stroller! Its empowering, and freeing not to mention you are getting some resistance training in all the while having your child with you to enjoy the ride.

This can take a mom with small kids out of the house and out of their heads when they feel trapped at home with infants and toddlers. Also helping to reduce postpartum anxiety and depression.

Ever thought of swimming for exercise? You don’t have to do laps with perfect arm strokes and rhythms. If you’re not sure what to do in the water, my advice would be to just play, float, bob or do a headstand. You are still burning calories.

Don’t spend your whole life dreading movement. Just find something that you enjoy doing when moving. For more information about what I do as a Health Coach schedule your 30 min. FREE consultation on my services page.






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