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(Re)Discover the Joy of Movement

Let’s make physical activity fun again [

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(Re)Discover the Joy of Movement

Have you ever watched a two-year-old bop along joyously to a favourite song? Or a preschooler dash around a playground with glee? Young children intrinsically know that moving our bodies is fun! And then, somewhere along the way, we lose that. This New Year, let’s resolve to rediscover the joy of movement in our own lives. Here’s how.

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Fun, not fitness

We know that we’re supposed to get 2 1/2 hours (or more!) of physical activity a week for our health. But it’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Maybe you still cringe at the memory of high school gym class. Maybe you find the thought of working out at a gym boring. Maybe exercise classes feel intimidating. But who says that exercise has to be spin class, jogging, or lifting weights?

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From ballerina to pole artist: One woman’s journey

Pole artist and instructor Rebecca Karpus discovered the world of pole after growing up as a trained ballerina. Like many children, she started dancing at a very young age and fell in love with it. After dancing professionally in university, she decided to pursue a different career path. Long days in the studio were replaced with long days at the office, which left her feeling incomplete. She deeply missed the artistry of dance but struggled to find the perfect dance alternative. “I tried going to the gym. I tried yoga. I tried Pilates. Nothing really clicked for me,” she explains.

Eventually, on a whim, Karpus attended a pole class at a nearby studio several years ago. “I thought I would hate it,” she laughs, “but it was so exciting!” She explains that there is a lot of stigma associated with pole dancing. “But pole dancing isn’t always sexy. It can be very athletic or very dance-y. It is a great exercise, an amazing creative outlet, and a wonderful, supportive community. Pole [dancing] filled the void that ballet had left.”

These days, Karpus pole dances in the studio and at home (yes, she installed a pole in her house!). She also teaches, competes, and choreographs pole routines for her students.

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Find your own joy

Looking for a unique movement idea? Ask yourself what type of activity might bring you joy. Consider something …

  • outdoorsy (such as mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding)
  • artistic (such as pole dancing, belly dancing, or ballroom dancing)
  • you can do with others (such as ultimate Frisbee, curling, roller derby, pickleball, tennis, or square dancing)
  • you can do solo (such as yoga, tai chi, Nordic walking, or running)
  • with little commitment needed (such as drop-in aquafit, public skating, or an adult outdoor jungle gym)
  • you’ve wanted to try since childhood (such as gymnastics, fencing, horseback riding, martial arts, or hockey)
  • for the whole family (such as backyard picnic games, treetop adventure courses and ziplines, or canoeing)

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Open your mind and trust your body

If your bestie swears by HIIT classes but you can’t stand them, just let it go. Karpus encourages everyone to try everything once but to move on if it’s not the right fit. “Try it, even if you don’t think you’ll like it. Pole challenged my preconceived notions,” she says. “But trust yourself and your body. If it doesn’t feel right, try something else.”

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Be a beginner

The nice thing about pole, adds Karpus, is that it’s not an activity that children tend to do, which means that many adults are complete beginners when they arrive at the pole studio. That’s okay, Karpus assures us. Once you push past the fear of looking silly, you may surprise yourself and find community, connection, and fun.

This year, let’s think outside the box and focus on fun and not fitness. Let’s listen to our inner toddler and move our bodies simply because it feels amazing! We deserve it.

Support your movement with supplements

Ask your health care practitioner about supporting your movement with select supplements, such as

  • protein (many plant-based options are available)
  • creatine
  • branched-chain amino acids
  • electrolytes

Get moving, outside

Don’t let the cold stop your joy! Here are a few ways in which you can have fun outdoors in the winter.

  • Shift your favourite activity to make it winter friendly. For example, instead of hiking, go snowshoeing. Instead of bike riding, try skiing.
  • Be a kid again! Get outside and have fun with a snowball fight. Or, ask your family, “Do you want to build a snowman?” (in song form, preferably).
  • Invest in some rain and cold weather gear, such as waterproof shoes and gloves, and sturdy winter boots.

Remember, when you’re adventuring outside, it’s very important to dress for the weather, follow all safety protocols, and never venture out of bounds.

Local fun finds

Not sure where to find movement opportunities near you? Check out your community centre recreation guide, local fitness studios and sports leagues, and nonprofit organizations.

Respect pole’s pioneers

Rebecca Karpus explains that it’s important to acknowledge the history behind pole dancing, which originated with night club dancers and sex workers: “They continue to do this work today and push pole forward artistically and athletically, which allows middle-class women like myself to enjoy it as a hobby.”

Inclusive and supportive: Colour the Trails

BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ adults who are curious about adventuring outside can find an inclusive and supportive community with Colour the Trails. Learn how to camp, bird watch, mountain bike, row, and more, with fun events and activities that are perfect for beginners. colourthetrails.com/events

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