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Joyful Movement

Many people struggle with their relationship with exercise. Most of us have been conditioned to view exercise as a punishment; something we must do to burn off what we've eaten, or "earn" food for later. Rather than being a pleasurable activity, or a tool for taking care of your body, exercise probably feels a lot more like a chore.


Joyful movement is an approach to physical activity that emphasizes finding pleasure in the ways we move our bodies. It is in direct opposition to the idea of going to the gym to “earn”food or exercise for the soul purpose of weight loss. By emphasizing pleasure, you’re more likely to regularly move your body. With joyful movement, all kinds of movement are valid.

The concept of joyful movement expands what we traditionally think of as exercise to promote moving our bodies in ways that actually feel good to you and bring you, you guessed it: Joy. In a physical sense, this means not forcing yourself into forms of movement that cause pain or discomfort in your body (beyond the general soreness you might feel upon starting a new activity, or the occasional injury you might incur just by virtue of having a body and moving it). 

Of course, that doesn’t mean that there is no place for group fitness classes, long distance runs, or other intense forms of exercise in the joyful movement philosophy—if those are what truly bring you joy. But it’s important to assess your motivation for engaging in those activities.

My Favorite Joyful Movements

  1. Hiking

  2. Roller Skating

  3. Dancing

  4. Hula Hooping

  5. Yoga

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