Working out is one thing repeated by many people as a way to stay healthy, prevent disease, lose weight, and more. But what about when working out feels daunting? What if you’d love to go to the gym and break your record on the squat rack, but your body needs a quiet day, or your mental health feels heavy? What can you do if working out doesn’t feel accessible, but you’d like to move your body beneficially? Here are five ideas we have for you.
Dance it Out
If you’ve seen a four-year-old watch any Disney movie, you know there’s usually an impromptu song-and-dance break at some point. Join in, flail to the beat, or sway back and forth to the tunes. You don’t have to be a good dancer to jam out to Frozen’s “Let it Go.” Whether you ask Alexa to play Summer Hits of the 90s or go two-stepping at your local country bar, dancing is a fun way to lose track of time and break a sweat while having a blast.
Stretch it Out
Lita, a veteran spouse shares, “Since I have to cope with vertigo almost daily, I like to do workouts that do not intensify feeling dizzy or nauseous due to rapid head movements.” Different types of yoga can feel supportive for others like Lita or those who need something gentle. Specifically, yin and restorative yoga can increase blood flow, help muscles relax, and help you get recentered if you feel overwhelmed. Even gentle stretching can do the trick if you don’t have time for a yoga flow.
Walk it Out
According to the Mayo Clinic, walking can increase energy levels and improve mood, cognition, memory, and sleep. Although a walk may not ‘feel’ like you are working out, it can be a good reset for your day and help you process any feelings or problems. You can make a walk more challenging by increasing the incline on a treadmill. Take your pup for a walk, bring a friend, or listen to an audiobook or podcast only you are interested in to make the time fly by.
Pedal it Out
Under the desk pedals or treadmills are all the rage after a couple of years of people working from home. Cycling can range from a casual ride around the neighborhood, following a Peleton trainer, or casually pedaling as you watch the newest episode of your favorite show. Movement like pedaling can be helpful for those who struggle to focus, have excess energy, or can’t do impact cardio.
Wiggle it Out
Intuitive movement is an excellent way of figuring out what an easy workout is for you. Tune in and ask your body what they would like to do that day or what would feel good. Perhaps it’s rolling on a fitness ball or using a resistance band to add tension without weights. Michelle, a civilian, says, “My yoga hammock and fitness ball are great assists when I have chronic pain flares.” Perhaps while you are washing dishes, you do a few leg lifts to the side, or while watching TV, you do squats, stretching, or crunches. Workouts don’t have to be long to help you feel better.
Easy workouts aren’t a ‘cop-out,’ and there’s no ranking (that you should pay attention to) for what type of workout is best for you; your body needs different things at different times. Any exercise you do that reminds you in a kind way of the connection you have to your body is a good call, so do your best to leave judgment at the door when you pick the exercise that you need most. May this list bring you new ideas and permission to have an easeful workout when you desire one.
Aj Smit is the author of the book Red Thread: Weaving an Embodied Life of Joy, speaker, glitter enthusiast, and professional weaver of Joy. She is a military spouse in S. Korea with a pup and houseplants galore. Aj has led various Red Tents, retreats, and workshops internationally over the last ten years to help others discover how to weave creativity and curiosity into their lives. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at @TheJoyWeaver and TheJoyWeaver.com