Can 8 Minutes of Movement Really Boost Joy?

Without reading any scientific papers, we intuitively know that we just feel better after moving. Humans are designed for motion interspersed with periods of rest. However, while activities like yoga, walking, or swimming may give us a boost of energy, are there specific exercises that will actually make you feel happy?

What activities not only crank up our heart rate, improve muscle strength and flexibility while also bringing us feelings of JOY?

Researchers have identified specific movements that exist across cultures that inspire joy.

What Coach Bev Discovered after doing the Joy Workout

I did my own study with an “n” of 1. I rated my joy feelings on a scale of 1-10 (and pulse) before doing these seven activities that each last for one minute. My joy rating was about a 3 before and it easily jumped up to an 8 during the movements and I couldn’t help but spontaneously smile. Plus, the glow continued afterward. Those 8 minutes of joy movement gave me the extra mental boost I needed to finish this blog post on a busy Monday morning,

Try it for yourself. Commit eight minutes out of your day to try this simple body joy workout. Invite your friends and family to compare their “joy” before and after doing these movements.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with prediabetes and diabetes get up and move every half hour. This joy workout offers a starting point to begin a new habit of moving more. Of course, individuals may need to modify some of the moves for safety and comfort. If doing it all at once is too much, a person could spread the workout throughout the day, doing one move at each half hour break. Even turning on the music for a few minutes and spontaneously dancing invokes joy and improves health.

You are invited to choose your favorite beat or just enjoy the music on the Joy Workout Video (from Newsweek article).

Here are the 7 Joy Movements.

  • Reaching your arms up and breathe
  • Swaying hips, arms and legs side to side
  • Bouncing in rhythmic movement to a beat
  • Shaking hands, arms, legs and body
  • Jump for joy, bouncing on feet and lifting arms up
  • Celebrate by taking up space with arms stretched out and little jumps
  • Freestyle to music which can include spinning like a dancer
  • Take a bow for doing it!

Consider this as an experiment and an invitation to rediscover the joy of movement. There are plenty of other science-backed ways to improve your mood with exercise and these exercises may just be the start.

Join Ashley LaBrier, RD, MS, CDCES Exercise & Nutrition Expert as she provides insights and strategies to promote healthy lifestyle modification.

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