Joyful Movement and Physical Wellbeing

By Ashley Berry, Campus Life Fellow

What do you think of when you hear the phrase physical wellbeing? I would bet that most think of physical wellbeing as exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet. But what if I told you that wasn’t it?

Diet culture has burdened us with unhealthy messaging about food and our bodies, which in turn has influenced our relationship with physical activity. We have come to see exercise as a chore and something that must be done to balance out our eating habits and maintain a certain body type or size. Many people see exercise only as how many calories they have burned and don’t focus on how they actually feel when they move their bodies.

This is where joyful movement comes in. Joyful movement is an approach to physical wellbeing which focuses on finding joy in physical activities that make YOU feel good and is an act of self care and body appreciation. Forget about calories burned, miles ran, or weight lifted. Joyful movement is all about enjoyment and making yourself happy. If going to the gym and working out makes you feel good, that can be one of your forms of joyful movement! For others who don’t enjoy the gym and see it as more of an obligation than a pleasure, you may also try things such as…

  • Yoga
  • Going for a walk through Reynolda Gardens
  • Rock climbing in the Wellbeing Center
  • Hiking at Hanging Rock
  • Stretching
  • Indoor or outdoor cycling
  • Dancing
  • Intramural sports
  • & many more!

If you’re struggling to find what kinds of movement make you feel good, I encourage you to look back on what you’ve done in the past or what you enjoyed as a child. Did you really enjoy playing soccer in high school? Did you love that one dance class you took? Did you enjoy jump rope or splashing in the pool? Consider trying those old activities or branching out to find new ones. You will never know if you like it until you try!

On campus, you can find many different forms of movement by visiting Campus Recreation’s group fitness page to find classes such as cycling, weight lifting, yoga, pilates, and more in virtual AND in-person settings. Also, if you’re someone who loves getting outside, check out outdoor pursuits to sign up for trips OR rent gear for personal use.