joy with movement

3 Tips to Find Joy with Movement

When you think of exercise do you moan and groan? Do you long for a healthy routine with exercise? This post provides 3 tips to find JOY with movement, which is aligned with Intuitive Eating principle #9 — Exercise, Feel the Difference

What is Joyful or Intuitive Movement? 

In the world of diet culture, exercise is seen through the lens of “burning” calories and manipulating one’s body size. It’s promoted as something you “should” do to be healthy. 

With Intuitive Eating, one is invited to view exercise through the lens of caring for and celebrating one’s body. Eventually, thoughts of “I should exercise” may be replaced with “I’m looking forward to adding more movement into my day.” 

I use the words “intuitive” and “joyful” movement interchangeably. When we choose forms of movement that intuitively feel good to us, it’s natural that we experience more joy in the process! 

3 Tips to Find Joy with Movement

Trade restrictive exercise routines for joyful ones with these simple tips.

1- Identify Your Why.

We all know that exercise is “good” for us. It helps maintain muscle mass, prevent bone loss, improve range of motion, increase daily functioning, fight off certain diseases, boost mood and energy, etc. (the list of benefits goes on). 

But what motivates one person, might not motivate the next. That’s why it’s essential to define your intuitive-aligned reasons for movement. 

What benefit are you most looking forward to by establishing movement as a part of your daily routine?

Why do you want to exercise outside of weight loss or calorie burn? What makes movement important to you? How does this relate to your values? Make a list of whatever comes to mind.

joy with movement

2- Experiment with Different Types of Movement.

After defining your intuitive-aligned reasons for exercise, experiment with different forms of movement. Think beyond the elliptical and traditional gym setting! Here are a few ideas: 

  • Dance 
  • Team Sports 
  • Rowing 
  • Biking
  • Climbing 
  • Swimming 
  • Hiking 
  • Paddle Board 
  • Kayak 
  • Jump Rope 
  • Hula-Hoop
  • Group Exercise Classes
  • Barre 
  • Pilates 
  • Yoga 
  • Walking 
  • Roller Blade 
  • Water Aerobics 
  • Resistance Bands 

Make a list of activities that appeal to you. Reflect on what you’ve enjoyed in the past. Challenge yourself to try something new. 

joy with movement


3- Create An Implementation Intention 

Once you have your joyful list of activities, create an implementation intention. Decide exactly what, where, and when you will be active. This takes the guesswork out of exercise. 

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, defines implementation intentions as “a plan you make beforehand about when and where to act; that is, how you intend to implement a particular habit.”

For example: 

  • I will sign up for 1 group exercise class (what) at my local YMCA (where) on Sunday (when). 
  • I will text my friend about walking (what) around the neighborhood (where) on Tuesday after work (when). 

Use this template to begin writing your implementation intentions:

I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]. 


Remind yourself of your intuitive-aligned reasons for exercise through affirmations. 

Affirmations are a form of positive self-talk that can help you overcome limiting beliefs. They are written in the present tense, about yourself, as if they were happening now. 

Affirmations for Intuitive Movement

  • I move to celebrate my body, not punish it
  • I appreciate what my body CAN do
  • My body does not need to change in order for me to respect it
  • I move to feel better, stronger, and capable
  • I allow for rest and recovery
  • My body is not a to-do list of things that need to be fixed
  • I am becoming a stronger person every day
  • I accept my body as it is today
  • My body is my instrument

Highlight any that stand out to you and begin writing your own. 

joy with movement

Use these tips to start finding joy with movement! 

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