Do you find yourself feeling stressed and unhappy more often than not? Do you want to know the secret to a happier life? If so, consider taking up a hobby that involves movement. And no, you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. From gentle stretching to dancing and tai chi, there are many ways to get up and move your body without ever stepping foot in a gym. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of movement-based hobbies, how to find the perfect one for you and tips for incorporating movement into your everyday life. By the end, you’ll see why movement could be the secret to a happier life. So let’s get started!
Why Movement-Based Hobbies are the Secret to a Happier Life
One of the most significant benefits of movement-based hobbies is their positive effect on mental health. Movement releases endorphins and reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Engaging in physical activity also helps improve sleep quality and overall mood and mental health. Additionally, movement-based hobbies can help improve cognitive function, memory, and concentration. Need proof? Click the bolded links to read science-based evidence that proves movement is medicine.
Another benefit is the social aspect. Many movement-based hobbies, like dance, yoga, and even spin, frequently occur in a group or class environment. Joining a group or class can provide a sense of community and connection with others with similar interests. This can lead to new friendships and provide a support system that encourages continued participation in the hobby. I’ve met many friends in yoga classes and at golf lessons. Making friends was not my goal when attending, but it’s a side benefit I am grateful for!
Movement-based hobbies can also improve physical health. They can help prevent or manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Regular physical activity can also increase flexibility, improve balance, and reduce the risk of falls. So, again, click the links if you’re one of those who needs to review the evidence first-hand.
Finally, movement-based hobbies provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Learning and improving new skills can give a sense of fulfillment, boosting confidence and self-esteem. In addition, Jay Shetty asserts in his book, “8 Rules of Love: How to Find It, Keep It, and Let It Go”, that learning new skills together is one of the best ways couples can keep the spark alive after years of monogamy. Furthermore, psychologist and thought leader Jordan B. Peterson claims that challenge is the secret to a more fulfilling life, which is the closest thing to lasting happiness that he believes in. So, whether single or coupled up, learning new movement-based hobbies can help you feel more alive, accomplished, and fulfilled.
Now that you know the benefits, it’s time to find the best movement-based hobby for you.
Finding the Best Movement-Based Hobby for You
When embracing movement as medicine, it’s essential to consider your interests and physical abilities. Do you enjoy being outdoors, or do you prefer indoor activities? Are you looking for a low-impact exercise or something more intense? These are all factors to keep in mind when exploring your options. Using myself as an example, I prefer to be outdoors over indoors when the weather permits. I like low to medium-impact activity that’s easy on the joints and relaxing or fun. The typical gym fitness routine of burpees and mountain climbers is my worst nightmare, tied with running for any significant distance. So, my ideal workouts are long walks, hikes, yoga, swimming, and qigong. And, the occasional round of golf, which I am not very good at but enjoy anyway.
Some popular movement-based hobbies include hiking, yoga, swimming, dancing, cycling, pilates, surfing, sports, and martial arts, but the possibilities are endless. Feel free to try something new and step outside of your comfort zone. After all, the goal is to find a hobby that provides physical benefits and brings you joy and fulfillment. Once you’ve discovered the right hobby, it’s time to get started so you can reap the rewards.
Getting Started with Your New Hobby
Starting a new hobby can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to start small and build up gradually. For example, if you’ve decided to try hiking, start with a short trail and increase the distance as you build up your endurance. If you’re interested in yoga, begin with a beginner’s or Level One class. If you decide to take up golf, give yourself lots of grace and let yourself suck at it for a while, as I do.😂 Remember that progress takes time and effort, so allow yourself to make mistakes and learn as you go.
Another vital aspect of starting a new hobby is prioritizing it. Set aside time each day or week to participate in your chosen activity. This will help you establish a routine and ensure that you have dedicated time to focus on yourself and your well-being. If you need advice on fitting your new movement-based hobby into your life, click here for tips and tricks on how to do just that!
Additionally, finding a community of like-minded individuals who share your interests can be helpful. This can provide motivation, accountability, and opportunities to connect with others and form new relationships. Seriously, I cannot rave enough about how much I have learned and benefitted from the relationships I’ve built while pursuing movement-based hobbies. So, consider joining a hiking or cycling group, signing up for a yoga class, or attending a dance workshop to reap those benefits for yourself. Social media can also be an excellent resource for finding and connecting with others who share your passion, but be careful to actually get out there and practice your hobby instead of just chatting about it online.
In short, starting a new movement-based hobby is all about taking the first step and committing to the process. By finding a physical pursuit that aligns with your interests and physical abilities, making it a priority, and connecting with others, you can reap the physical and emotional benefits of movement and establish a happier, healthier lifestyle. Now you know all about why prioritizing activity is essential. Next, we’ll explore how to fit moving your body into your already packed schedule.
Incorporating Movement into Your Day is the Secret to a Happier Life
Suppose you’re still deciding whether to commit to a new movement-based hobby. In that case, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. A straightforward way to do this is to prioritize walking over driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, or parking further away from your destination whenever possible. Not only is walking a great way to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing, but it’s also a low-impact activity that can be easily integrated into your daily schedule. For a reminder of the twenty benefits of taking a daily walk, click here.
Another way to make movement a part of your everyday life is to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. This may sound like a small change, but over time it can have a tremendous impact on your overall health and fitness level. Similarly, you can do some simple exercises or stretches during commercial breaks while watching TV or working at your desk. I love a good office yoga routine. Click here if you’d like to try one yourself.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a good old-fashioned dance party. You don’t have to take classes to dance. Whether you’re grilling in the backyard or cleaning up the house, turn up your favorite tunes and let yourself move to the beat. I’m basically incapable of cleaning without dancing to my favorite music at the same time. Not only is dancing a fun way to get your body moving, but it also provides a mental boost and can help reduce stress and anxiety. You can read more about the benefits of music and dancing here.
By incorporating movement into your everyday life, you can experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise without committing to a specific hobby or routine. This is phenomenal news if, like me, you despise being stuck in a rut and crave variety. So take a walk around the block, skip the elevator, and throw a dance party in the kitchen – your body and mind will thank you for it.
As we’ve seen, movement-based hobbies can be the secret to a happier life while improving your health. By finding a hobby that aligns with your interests and abilities, making it a priority, and connecting with others, you can reap the benefits of movement and establish a positive, sustainable lifestyle. And all without stepping foot in a gym! (I’m not going to say I told you so, but…)
Incorporating movement-based hobbies into your life is the secret to a happier life and a healthier you. The benefits of reduced stress, improved mood, and physical health make it worth exploring different activities to find what inspires you the most. Remember, it’s never too late to start. So, take action today and give yourself the gift of a happier life. As Aristotle once said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim, and end of human existence.” If you’re like my husband and Jordan B. Peterson, and you aren’t sure you believe in happiness, substitute fulfillment instead of happiness. Either way, getting moving is the secret.
So, what are you waiting for? Get moving and start living your best life. Tag me (@basicbfindsbalance) in a pic or video of you using movement as medicine on Facebook, Instagram, or Tik Tok (for as long as that platform is allowed in the US). If you do, I’ll share your post in my stories to motivate others to get moving. Why not inspire others to get moving since you’re already doing it? Double win! Am I right?
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Until Next Week,