The Joyful Path to Movement: Discovering Your Perfect Exercise Match
Finding physical activities and exercises that bring fulfillment and joy is crucial for physical health and plays a significant role in creating sustainable habits for physical activity. Engaging in activities that one genuinely finds enjoyable encourages long-term commitment and consistency, leading to a healthier life. The American Heart Association recommends that adults engage in activity for at least 150 minutes weekly for moderate-intensity aerobic activities or around 75 minutes weekly for aerobic activities.1 Additionally, muscle strengthening activities twice weekly are recommended to promote muscle health.1 Incorporating nonconventional types of movement, such as dancing or gardening, can make physical activity accessible and appealing to those who may not currently be meeting the American Heart Association’s recommendations.
One key component of any habit is finding enjoyment. Many may associate the word exercise with tedious routines or monotonous workouts, which may discourage consistency or engagement with activity altogether. However, by exploring non-conventional exercises, individuals can discover new and exciting ways to move their bodies. Gardening, for instance, offers a unique combination of the joy of nurturing life and physical exertion. It can provide a sense of accomplishment and connection with the great outdoors while also improving balance, strength, and cardiovascular health.
Dancing is another enjoyable form of movement for many people that can also be tailored to individual preferences. From salsa to swing, ballet to hip hop, and shag to ballroom – dancing allows for improved coordination and cardiovascular health as well as self-expression. Dance classes may be a fun hobby for some, while others may choose to turn up their favorite music and move right at home to incorporate movement into daily life.
Dancing and gardening are just two of the countless forms of joyful movement. Here are some other ideas to get moving!
- Hiking: explore nature trails, challenge your body with varying terrains, enjoy the fresh air, and find beautiful sights around your hometown and beyond
- Yoga: cultivate mindfulness, strength, and flexibility at a studio or right at home via YouTube videos (like those from Yoga with Adriene, linked here)
- Trampoline jumping: embrace a sense of childhood play while also strengthening heart-health
- Bike riding: explore your local trails or neighborhood while combining exercise with eco-friendly transportation
- Zumba: this energetic dance fitness variety provides an exhilarating workout
- Rollerblading: engage leg muscles while also improving cardiovascular health
- Martial arts: learn self-defense while also engaging in physical fitness
- Pickup basketball: shoot free throws or play a pickup game at your local park
- Swimming: decrease strain on joints while working on muscle and heart health
- Washing the car: enjoy some sunshine while also improving coordination and stamina
- Mopping the floor: even household chores can count towards movement
- Pickleball or tennis: get some fresh air while also engaging in a cardiovascular strengthening, mobility, and balance-strengthening activity
Encourage a positive attitude towards movement by exploring new activities, intentionally including movements that you love, and having an open mind to things that may be a little unconventional!