Spring Into Exercise

January is a time for Joyful Movement

One of the most common topics that surfaces during the turn of the new year 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 (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.
Your brain on exercise.

Joyful Movement also boosts mood. 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. 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 (Legey et al., 2017). 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.

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!

How physical activity impacts our spiritual wellness. 

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

How physical activity impacts our environmental wellness. 

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

How physical activity impacts our occupational wellness. 

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


How physical activity impacts our intellectual wellness. 

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!

How physical activity impacts our emotional wellness. 

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

How physical activity impacts our social wellness. 

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


How physical activity impacts our financial wellness. 

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! Another option is to use our Joyful Movement Journal to get started in creating your personal plan for success! Access the printable version or digital version at the SWS Website under the Physical Dimension of Wellness.