Spring Into Exercise

Joyful Movement

Did you know that the most common new years resolutions are 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, which may make it difficult to maintain 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 you're interested it and makes you happy. This way the activity is fueled by natural 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 (Tribole & Resch, 2012). 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.

Joyful Movement.

All movement, no matter how small or large, has positive benefits to the brain and body. In fact, many research studies show a positive link between exercise and academic performance, including improvement in test scores, grades, attendance, memory, and mood when activity levels increase.

Joyful Movement includes respecting the limits of your physical skills. Participating in physical movement that is 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 distances in the future.

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. Be sure to also check out how movement can help your brain as you are studying for classes!

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, come talk to a SWS Wellness Coach by signing up! Another option is to use our printable or digital Joyful Movement Journal to get started in creating your personal plan for success! You can find more information about physical wellness at the SWS Website under the Physical Dimension of Wellness.