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5 Ways to Celebrate the Joy of Movement This Summer 

All physical activities are not created equally — and not in the sense that squats are more beneficial than deadlifts. No, in this instance we are referring solely to a movement’s joy-inspiring factor. Activity preferences are as customized as a person’s taste palate. What may prompt excitement in one person may sound like an afternoon of chores for another. And if you are a person who has yet to find a movement-based activity that sparks joy – do not retire from your search just yet. Effective workouts can exist outside of your local gym’s four walls. If hanging out in “The Iron Paradise” is not your idea of a fun day, we assure you there are countless other options that do not involve a row of weight machines.  

Unsurprisingly, when reflecting on the phrase ‘the joy of movement’, we must first zoom in on the key word here: joy. Think about what other aspects of life provide you with joy that do not involve movement. Cooking? Reading? Spending time with family? Writing? Traveling? What is particularly fantastic about the joy of movement is that it can be paired with nearly any other activity. Need more proof? Check out these examples.

Are you a fan of constantly trying out new recipes? Walk to a local farmer’s market for ingredients or watch a cooking YouTube video while doing an at-home aerobic workout. Are you a big reader? We have a couple fun ideas. Taking a stroll outside whilst listening to an audio book is a relaxing (but heart-pumping) way to experience new stories. Or on that trek, head to a peaceful or quiet space (outdoor bench, coffee shop, library) where you can crack open a book and read outside your usual corner of the house. The key to transferring joy from one experience to another is this: think creatively and be willing to try something new. 

When we marry movement with joy, it becomes an association that also enriches our mental health. As most people know, physical movement releases endorphins, which in turn create uplifting feelings of clarity, understanding and happiness. This June, we are celebrating joy throughout everything we do, including how we move! In honor of this, we are pleased to share 5 ways you and your girl can celebrate the joy of movement. Enjoy! And remember, happiness is the priority here! 

Include your girl in your favorite movement-based activity 

Are you an avid runner? Bike rider? Explorer of nature? Dancer? Introduce this passion into your girl’s life! Your energy, coupled with your girl’s excitement to be included, is destined to lead to a day filled with positive new experiences. And if running specifically is an activity you are looking to share with your girl, we have the perfect article for you! Allison Riley, Ph.D., senior vice president of programming and evaluation at Girls on the Run recently contributed to a piece in Women’s Running that breaks down this very concept. See what Allie, and other industry experts, had to say about welcoming your girl into the world of running and ensuring her safety! 

Recognize your girl’s interests and tie in movement 

As girls grow up, their interests ebb and flow. One day she is playing with Legos and the next day she is an avid soccer player. Recognize her latest interest and find a way of naturally connecting with her on it. Ask questions. Do a little homework. From there, see what options exist for tying in movement. As you come up with ideas, remain flexible and encourage your girl to share her thoughts. Set a time for this specific movement-based activity and stick to it. Encourage others to join, if possible. A strong community will reassure your girl that her interests matter and are meaningful.  

Both try something new 

Sometimes the best place to start is a blank slate. Are both you and your girl novices at roller skating, double-dutch or Zumba? Great! Look at this as a connection opportunity. Why not test out a movement activity you both have never tried before? Yes, there is a vulnerability required to explore uncharted territory, but this is a fantastic chance to show your girl the importance of staying brave even if you fail or make a mistake. When she sees your courage to put yourself out there, she will be more inclined to follow suit and discover another activity that inspires joy. 

Incorporate fun and games 

Do not forget to invite fun to the party! As mentioned earlier, there is no law that says physical activities must be grueling! Think outside of the box to make an activity fun, exciting and even a game. Once your girl starts associating movement with fun, she will subconsciously find ways to incorporate it into her daily life. To start, identify if your girl prefers indoors over outdoors and go from there. Some games work better indoors than out, so that is a clear-cut way to begin your planning. Also consider how your girl’s one-of-a-kind mind works. Is she more of a creative thinker? Does she enjoy a challenge? Consider these options as well before pursuing an action plan! 

Reflect on the emotional and mental health benefits of movement 

After completing a movement-based activity with your girl, be sure to connect and reflect afterward. Dive into your emotional state (are you refreshed? Feeling clear? Motivated?) and discuss the body-mind connection. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge the mental health boost we receive post-movement but by taking time to recognize this experience, your girl will be more likely to remember it next time. This is precisely how healthy habits are formed! 

How do you celebrate movement with your girl? We’d love to hear your feedback! Contact us today at marketing@girlsontherun.org.