Practice Mindful Exercising

It’s summertime! For many, that means more time spent in the sun and fresh air, some much needed R&R at the beach, BBQs, new projects and exciting travel plans. Most of us can agree the summers months are a time we tend to naturally move and exercise more - between spending more time outdoors and doing more of the things we enjoy.

Summer is the perfect season for everyone to explore new ways of exercising mindfully and enhancing our mind-body connection within ourselves. Another word for this concept is joyful movement.

What exactly is joyful movement?

It is respecting, celebrating and moving your body in a rhythm of moving that works best for YOU! It’s that feel good movement that leaves your body and soul feeling rejuvenated, happy and alive; rather than rundown, stressed out and fatigued. 

Everyone is capable of moving from a place of mindfulness and joy. For one person this could mean taking a spin class or going for a run, for someone else it could mean taking your dog for a walk outside or practicing yoga. It is completely individual and unique to you!

Moving does NOT have to be punishment and compensation, forcing yourself to move in ways you do not enjoy in order to burn a certain amount of calories. In fact, it shouldn’t be about that at all! Joyful movement is all about relieving stress and enhancing our connection to our bodies and mind.

 
 

So how do you know if you are practicing joyful movement? Ask yourself:

Does my body like to move this way?

What are my intentions behind moving right now?

What kind of movement leaves me feeling more physically energized and connected to my mind and body?

What movement makes me feel free and happy? 

Joyful movement doesn’t mean you have to be thrilled, counting down the seconds to every workout or movement. But it also doesn’t mean you should be dragging your sore, tired body to the gym on a day that rest may serve you better. When we move/workout while our bodies are intensely sore or in tend of rest, we can cause more harm than good - such as increased risk for energy, high levels of stress on our bodies and increase in cortisol levels.

In need of some new ideas for ways to practice joyful movement this summer?

Here’s a few for you to try out and see what it is that you enjoy doing! 

  • Go for a bike ride

  • Take a walk with your dog outside

  • Try out that new class you’ve been dying to try - here are some of my favorites:

  • Go for a swim in the pool or ocean

  • Explore a new hiking trail with friends or family

  • Go for a jog in the park

  • Try SUP! (Stand Up Paddling) or a SUP Yoga class

  • Take a walk with a friend 

  • Active living- walking or biking to work or school in the morning

  • Play with your kid in the backyard

  • Do a yoga flow in the morning before starting the day

 
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Remember, joyful movement can be anything from taking your dog for a walk after a long day to decompress or training for a 10K you are running with your college friends. It could be trying something new you’ve never done before like stand up paddling (SUP) or kayaking. The options are endless and do not have to be confined to expensive boutique fitness classes or slogging away on a treadmill.

Celebrate your body - it’s pretty powerful! How are you moving this summer?