Exercise – while most of us are aware of its importance to our physical and mental health, for many of us, it’s not always our favorite way to pass the time. Our community care services call for a focus on physical movement as it directly affects neurological, skeletomuscular, and cardiovascular health. That being said, the positive effects of movement are more enriching when exercising is less of a chore and more of a joyful expression. For older adults and those who live with disabilities, how can we put the joy back into movement?
Joyful movement simply involves moving the body in a way that feels good. The concept combines principles from the body positivity movement and mindfulness to take the pressure out of exercise. It shifts the focus into a more positive direction. Joyful movement puts health, wellness, and fun at the forefront and encourages us to take a guilt-free approach to exercise. All of us can benefit from this gentler approach to movement as many of us have wounded relationships with our bodies and the way we use them, but joyful movement can be particularly revolutionary for those who struggle with everyday life and rely on others to complete personal care tasks and maintain their health. There are plenty of ways that all of us can master the art of joyful movement for happier, healthier lives.
Bodily awareness is an excellent place to start. In this context, it can mean deciding that you don’t feel up to a morning run and would rather attend a zumba class. Or, it can mean choosing to lift heavy weights because you feel like a challenge. In a world where there’s so much pressure for us to live up to some standard or expectation, it can be difficult to drown out all the noise and simply do what feels right. Joyful movement gives you permission to let go of expectations and move to the natural rhythm of life. How can this bodily awareness be applied in a community care context? Regular check-ins with clients or encouraging body scans before deciding on a physical activity is one excellent way to get clients in tune with their bodily wisdom and learn what feels good to them whether that’s gentle stretching, a walk, or some gardening.
The effectiveness of joyful movement starts with our mindset. When we shift the goal from weight and body composition, we find that there are so many other reasons we move and one of them should be joy. One great way to bring more enjoyment into physical activity is to make it a social activity. For example, that difficult workout class you go to is always better with your best friend there. Asking loved ones to visit a nice park with us where we can admire the beauty of nature is another excellent example of using fellowship to add enjoyment to bodily movement.
At Advanced Home Care Services, we value physical health and the importance of maintaining one’s joie de vivre. If you have any questions about how we support members of the community, feel free to reach out.