“Joyful exercise” is a trendy term but maybe a lofty goal if you’re an exercise beginner trying to get healthy during your pregnancy or someone who’s coming back to exercise in postpartum after a long hiatus and MAJOR body changes.

Don’t feel like exercise can be “joyful” for you? ?

You’re not alone!

?Exercise and movement are NOT the same.

It can help to remember that “exercise” is just structured movement, not some magical life force.

?‍♀️Movement includes anything you do in your life to accomplish a non-exercise goal, like errands, housework, hobbies and play. Movement often feels joyful or, at least, comfortable. Most of us get more movement than ‘exercise.’

?‍♀️Exercise is intentional movement done for the purpose of improving one’s health. By nature, exercise is challenging. You might experience tolerable but somewhat uncomfortable “burning,” fatigue and sweating during intentional exercise, depending on intensity.

Exercise is uncomfortable for everyone from time to time.

Unintentional movement can be challenging and build strength, too, but it’s often tied to a goal of accomplishing something or pleasure like sport, games, and socialization. So we don’t “feel” or mind the challenge of daily movement the same way we feel, or even resent the challenge of exercise.

Expecting exercise to be joyful might hold you back.

The idea of “joyful” exercise can make you feel like something is wrong with YOU for not experiencing joy during exercise. Instead, try treating exercise as hygiene and find joy in types of movement you know & like, such as dancing & playing.

You may actually enjoy exercise the more you do it! Just like other new things, exercise feels easier and more ‘natural’ the more you do it.

Start small and focus on how exercise makes you feel after and during the rest of your life. ?‍?‍?

Over time, you may associate exercise with confidence & happiness… JOY!

How can I enjoy exercise more?

Here are a few tips if you feel like the ONLY human on the internet these days who doesn’t feel “joyful” during exercise.

? Focus more on movement like walking, dancing, swimming, stretching and anything else you’re familiar with, comfortable doing and which you already associate with pleasure.

? Start small with intentional exercise and think of it as “hygiene.” Choose a workout that doesn’t scare the shit of you and even feels quite a bit easier than your max effort. 10 minutes of bodyweight strength or some #mobilityformoms flows from my IG would be a great way to start.

? Set an expectation that exercise may feel uncomfortable at points and adjust your workout as you go to find a level of “burn,” fatigue and sweatiness/breathlessness you can sustain and that doesn’t feel terrifying.

?️‍♀️ Focus on the amazing feeling AFTER your workout and how your workout helps you feel stronger & more confident doing your other movement and daily tasks. Over time, you’ll associate these rewards with exercise!