I Marie Kondo’d my apartment, and now I’m going to do it to my workout routine


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Photo: Getty/Matt Monath

I would define my relationship with exercise to be along the lines of “loves SoulCycle, loves dancing, will try everything else.” My favorite activities tend to feature loud music, high energy, and ideally some form of dancing (either on or off of a bike). Ask me to meet you at a boot camp class on a Saturday morning, though, and I will spend the entire week talking myself up to do it. But I’ll go anyways—because I feel like I should suffer through an hour of burpees for the sake of giving my body a well-rounded workout routine.

After spending the majority of last weekend working some Konmari-inspired magic in my apartment (goodbye, jeans that haven’t fit me since 11th grade!) and on my desk, I got to thinking: Could I apply The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up to my exercise regimen, too? After chatting with a trainer and a sports psychologist about the subject, I discovered that not only can I shift my entire workout routine to spark joy, but actually…I should.

“The ‘must,’ ‘have to,’ ‘need to’ mindset [with exercise] is not going to put you in the right mindset to actually be motivated,” says Hillary Cauthen, Psy.D., CMPC, and Association for Applied Sport Psychology representative, who is fully on board with the idea of ditching trendy routines in favor of something you love.  “If it does bring joy in the moment, it’s probably going to facilitate a lot more of the endorphins you want to see along the way because you’ll be a lot more consistent in doing it.”

She notes that when you’re psychologically and emotionally invested in a workout, you’re more apt to stick with it, and will ultimately be able to reap the holistic benefits both in the moment and over time. And for what it’s worth? It doesn’t matter what kind of movement you’re doing, as long as you’re doing it. “Moving your body is what is important—circulating the heart flow and getting the energy and the endorphins that you want,” says Cauthen. “Whatever way you do that, whether it’s through dance or walking or stair-stepping or strength training, movement is movement—let’s make it pleasurable.”

Between the rise of digital fitness and the expansion of the boutique studio movement, there have never been more options out there to choose from in pursuit of finding something you enjoy. “Try new things and see what’s fun for you,” says Senior Vice President of Marketing at Blink Fitness, Michael Lupo. “Never do things that you feel like you have to do.” All three experts confirm: Movement is movement, no matter how you get that heart-rate up, which means I’ll be on the bike much more often in 2019.

Check out the workouts that sparked joy for Well+Good staffers in 2018, and how I changed my relationship with exercise by getting rid of my scale for good. 

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