(GoodLife Fitness Centre on Carp Road, Stittsville. Photo: Google)
As we all hunker down for winter, Canadians may be looking for small ways to inject some joy into their daily pandemic routine. Collect jokes or sayings that make you laugh – laugh at yourself. It’s hard to be stressed and angry when you’re laughing. Whether it’s playing with kids or playing golf, doing something fun promotes overall well-being. Leisure activities can help fight stress, build confidence and distract us from difficulties. Take time to treat yourself to a relaxing soak in the tub, a therapeutic massage or even some meditation or a nature break.
When you’re feeling good, throw your whole self into it. Go ahead, jump up and down, clap your hands. Research shows that if you act out a certain emotion, you can fire up that feeling.
Since exercise triggers the brain to release endorphins that improve your mood and help fight anxiety and depression, here are some joyful exercise options to blow off steam and fight the pandemic doldrums.
Social DisDance: Group fitness instructor Michelle Ryder (@micheryder) has always loved to dance, so when COVID closed down her group fitness dance classes, she found new ways to get her groove on and work up a sweat outdoors. Ryder got a speaker and pulled together some great tunes and organized a weekly Saturday event from June-October in downtown Halifax. Now she’s leading Social DisDance classes on GoodLife Instagram TV to get Canadians off the couch and grooving with high energy tunes, strobe lights and lots of swagger.
Chair Choreography: Kim Lavender (@coachklav), VP of group experience with GoodLife Fitness choregraphed her own chair dances and stretches for those working from home. Along with other workout videos, Lavender has been posting short video clips with chair moves and motivating music, designed to give people incentives to sit less and move more throughout the day.
Kick your cares away: Channeling your inner Jackie Chan is a great way to release stress and feel empowered. Fitness instructor Inno Delarmente (@innod3) has been leading Canadians in kickboxing cardio sessions since the early weeks of the pandemic. The goal is to work up a sweat while you vent your frustrations with martial arts moves.
Learn to breathe properly: Another group fitness instructor Carole Reber (@carolereber) has been posting mindful meditation, breathing and yoga sessions designed for people feeling the stress of the pandemic. Her goal is to give people a break during the day when they can take time for themselves and be grateful for the positive things in their lives, as well as ease the effects of tension in their muscles.