Wellness Services: Join the “Joyful Mover” movement



Guest Column

Editor’s Note: The following guest column was submitted by Student Wellness Services.

January is a season of New Year resolutions, revamps and new aspirations. One of the most common topics that surfaces during this time is weight change and body modification. This may look like wanting to “eat healthy, lose/gain weight, or hit the gym.” Each of these intentions spotlights physical attributes and may serve as a pitfall for maintaining a holistic view of wellness. Student Wellness Services (SWS) encourages you to shift your focus to “Joyful Movement.”

Joyful Movement is the mindset in which one participates in physical activity that ignites interest and is fueled by intrinsic motivation. If you incorporate movement into your day that you enjoy, your satisfaction and motivation to be active will likely increase.  Intuitive eating experts Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch offer several suggestions to integrate fun into your active lifestyle. These tips include: choosing activities you enjoy, engaging in a variety of activities, using your favorite music, or switching up your routine. For example, if you loathe running, but love to dance, consider joining a dance class to get your cardio and joy! This way, you will naturally feel a desire to get your groove on each week.

Secondly, Joyful Movement includes respecting the limits of your physical skills. Researchers studying the relationship between physical activity level, mood and anxiety states and quality of life in college students found that mood is negatively impacted after high-intensity exercises. They speculated that “an activity at a self-selected intensity may be more advantageous than an imposed one, preferably in a pleasant environment,” according to a study conducted by Sandro Legey.  Participating in movement that’s too rigorous for your current ability produces an increase of anxiety levels and dissatisfaction. Alternatively, consider measuring what you are capable of challenging yourself with today to incrementally reach your long-term goals. Perhaps you want to run a marathon, but you’ve never focused on endurance training before. Try starting out by running shorter distances to build up stamina to prepare you to run long distance in the future.

Both of these tips help to transform you into a Joyful Mover, but the benefits of making the shift surpass physical wellness. Check out how physical activity can impact other areas of your life:

Spiritual Wellness: Improves self-awareness, increases purpose, and promotes mindfulness.

Environmental Wellness: Boosts appreciation of nature and allows for a change of scenery.

Occupational Wellness: Provides work/life balance and produces more energy for work.

Intellectual Wellness: Increases memory retention and improves productivity.

Emotional Wellness: Improves mental clarity, lowers stress symptoms, and increases happiness.

Social Wellness: Meet new friends, develop teamwork, and participate in healthy competition.

Financial Wellness: Provides a low-cost activity and decreases the likelihood of costly medical care.

Make the choice to be transformed into a Joyful Mover today! Do activities you love, that are within your wheelhouse, and keep your sights set on the benefits outside of physical changes. This will help you stick to your resolutions and create space for a healthy relationship with exercise. For more support with the Joyful Movement journey, come talk to a SWS Wellness Coach by signing up at https://studentwellness.uni.edu/wellness-coaching!