10 Ways to Hygge Your Fitness

Hygge is a Danish word that means cozy and comfortable. It’s pronounced a bit like “hug” and indicates a feeling of being special, loved, accepted, and belonging. It also means warmth, but that’s not the only reason that I’m connecting it to working out.

Your workout provides a time for you to connect and care for your body, and it can also be a time for you to offer some hygge to others. While fitness is often seen as one-way and even purely self-care, I can think of 10 ways you can bring kindness and community into your daily exercises.

Kindness on the Run

Here are 10 different ways you can “Hygge” your fitness:

  1. Litter cleanup: Carry a sack, wear gloves and pick up litter along your walk or run.
  2. Ding. Dong. Ditch: Leave a note, flowers or care package on a neighbor’s porch, ring the doorbell and run back to the road.
  3. Invite a friend: Despite our highly connected world, many report feeling lonely. Call someone and ask him or her to come along on your hike. Make small talk, swing your arms and turn your faces toward the sun.
  4. Neighborhood watch: If there’s a group that patrols your streets at night with flashlights and reflective vests, why not sign up for a turn once a week? If there isn’t one, why not start one?
  5. Pull weeds: Before we moved out to the country, we lived in a packed neighborhood with no sidewalks. Our landscaping butted right up to the road. I can list all the not-so-nice things people (or their dogs) left in our yard, but instead, let’s learn from the sweet lady who would randomly squat down and pull a few weeds out of my barkdust. As an overwhelmed mother, I wasn’t offended. Rather, I was grateful and impressed at the fabulous workout she likely got throughout several blocks! If you want to improve your squat, watch our free video here {click}.
  6. Nice note: Tuck a random card with a compliment behind someone’s windshield wiper. Maybe include an uplifting quote or verse. You could even take it a step further and include a $5 gift card to a local tea or coffee shop.
  7. Little Free Library: Have you seen those adorable little booths full of books? If your area doesn’t have one, perhaps you might consider starting your own little free library. That volunteer work and book swapping would keep you walking and sharing for sure.
    “Got out for a walk to the park today – 2 miles total. I am thankful for no rain today so we could go play! I grabbed a few board books that I have been meaning to pass on and dropped them in this little library box that we always pass by on the way to the closest park. I have noticed that it was lacking in children’s books so I was happy to leave some for another family as our #randomactofkindness for today.” – Emily
  8. Play fetch: If you live near a store, offer to walk and get a few groceries for a neighbor who finds it harder to fetch things. Carrying that load while walking will lighten their load yet make you stronger.
  9. Call a friend: Busy schedules make it hard to connect in real time, so if you can’t get face-time, at least call them and use your headphones to chat while you walk. Dial-up whoever is laid on your heart, ask how the day is going, share a funny story or two…
  10. Rock swap: Paint a rock all pretty and tuck it amongst other rocks or by a railing where a small child will find your art. This popular trend gained momentum around the same time as people were walking around, staring at their phones trying to to find Pokemon. My kids and I painted many rocks and took many walks to hide them and look for the rocks of others. Chances are your local town has a facebook group to help you get started. Just look up “the name of your town + rocks” and have fun!

During our yearly “Walk Thankful” challenge, many participants post pictures of their walks that include random acts of kindness. They rake leaves, stop to help strangers with things, invite lonely friends along… 

“Going a little stir crazy in the house so we headed out for a coffee and walk around the mall. Ordered one coffee and bought the lady’s behind me.” – Kelly

Seeing those images in my newsfeed along with posts about hygge is what prompted me to ponder how I can offer care and comfort while exercising. That’s when I began writing down these ideas for building warmth and connection in the world we workout in.

I like how Katy Bowman of Nutritious Movement refers to multitasking as “stacking my life.” Some argue that we cannot be fully present in any one task if we try to do more than one thing at once. As a mother though, I’d never get anything done otherwise and — I assure you — I can be fully present with my children and also talk on the phone, wipe a toddler’s butt, nurse a baby, and use the toilet myself all at once.

That sounds like chaos, doesn’t it? It’s the very opposite of hygge, or is it? After all, it’s rising to many needs at once, several of which include providing nurturing comfort. Nevermind that it doesn’t look like a latte swirled into art on a coffee table next to a partially done puzzle with a fire roaring in the stove.

Hygge is inviting rest and calm and kindness into our chaos. It’s making an environment in our homes, communities and world that leaves ourselves and others feeling hugged, fed and stronger to face what’s coming.

A properly functioning set of core muscles feels like a hug, and splinting can foster that feeling when diastasis recti is present. Gentle exercise can definitely encourage a decrease in stress hormones. Those are the hygge concepts that ring most clearly for me as a fitness professional, but we can stack it.

We can workout and altruistically reach out to others at the same time. We can bless our bodies while we bless others. And when we do, hygge helps us and the whole world to remember that there is still more good than bad, and love always wins.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *