Rediscover the Joy of Movement

Rediscover the Joy of Movement

Rediscover the Joy of Movement

by | Jan 15, 2022 | Health & Wellness

By ELITE Lifestyle Contributor Kris Herndon

Welcome to the New Year! For many of us, the start of the year is a time to refocus on our fitness goals. But with winter winds blowing outside, and the sky still pitch black when our alarm sounds in the morning, we may find it tempting to hit the snooze button instead of heading for the gym. How can we get motivated and embrace that new exercise routine?

To get inspired, I spoke to Kathryn Thomas, Phd, a researcher and educator who also teaches Nia, a holistic wellness practice that takes the form of guided group dance. Now in her 70s, Thomas shows no signs of losing momentum on her fitness journey; still, she says it’s no surprise that when exercise is so often seen as a boring or unpleasant chore, we may find ourselves avoiding it.

Here, fresh from my interview with Thomas, I give you three quick tips you can use today to turn that chore of a workout into a celebration of movement:

1. Turn up the music.
Thomas loves to move, but even for her, there are some exercises that can seem tedious. “For me it’s the rowing machine, and certain strength exercises, like planks,” she says. When she needs extra motivation to knock out those moves, she uses music to get started. “When I’m feeling lazy and I don’t want to work out, I turn on a playlist.” Thomas recommends choosing music with a strong beat and rousing melody — and above all, pick songs that you like. “That’s how I get over my resistance.”

2. Find your community.
Studies show a marked reduction in stress hormones when people move in a coordinated group. There is simply something primal about coming together to dance, move, and play. Thomas explains: “Science shows that when people engage in a rhythmic activity together, everybody’s experience improves on multiple levels. It’s brain chemistry, and when you experience it, you realize how powerful that is.” Thomas has found this in her Nia community, where there’s a “synergistic kind of support for one another,” both in-person and online.

3. Keep a sense of play.
Ever watch little kids playing at the playground? They seem to draw on a bottomless well of joyous energy. But somewhere between teenage competitive sports and adult weight-loss woes, play becomes more like work, and can be a source of feelings of guilt or failure. Not to worry: Every human being can rediscover how to play, regardless of age. The key is to stay present in the moment while embracing feelings of joy and release. And remember, the goal is to get moving. As Thomas says, “Feeling good is its own reward.” That’s what will keep you coming back and turn your new routine into a healthy habit.

Kris Herndon is a freelance writer who frequently covers fitness, health, and wellness.