Dance class. Soccer practice. Cross-country practice. Track practice. Softball practice.
As a child, my mom kept me busy. I was always on the move, whether it was an after-school activity or practice, or just playing outside. I always had something on the schedule and there was no screen time after school; we didn’t even have cable TV!
As unfair as I thought that was when I was younger, I’m now thankful to my mom for providing me with the opportunity to try, and fall in love with, so many different types of movement. When I went to college, it became my responsibility to fill my free time with things I enjoyed. And to figure out what those things were.
Of course, everyone’s journey with movement, fitness and health is different. It took me a year or more to realize that I did actually enjoy running when I could set my own pace and choose my own route. It took me five years to realize that I enjoyed helping others find the form of movement that made them happy as well.
Now as the co-owner and an instructor at Pure Barre Columbia, I get to do what I love every single day. I go to work and help people experience a form of exercise that they not only enjoy, but has so many benefits for both mind and body.
I believe that movement, exercise, working out — whatever you want to call it — has to be fun. The benefits of exercise range from improved heart health to muscle strength to increased bone density, and so much more. But it’s also beneficial for your mental health. The best way to reap all those benefits in one workout is to make sure you’re having fun while you’re doing it.
A workout doesn’t have to be fancy at all! A walk around the block or a quick circuit in your basement counts as movement, so does playing in the park with your kids or chasing your dog around the yard.
In honor of American Heart Month, I challenge you and your loved ones to enjoy 20 minutes of movement a day. Improve your heart health, and your overall health, while having fun!
Take a walk, dance in the kitchen or grab a friend and try that fitness class you’ve been thinking about. I promise, you won’t regret giving it a go!
Jenny Dewar is a transplant to Columbia from the suburbs of Chicago. She is co-owner and general manager of Pure Barre Columbia, where she also works as an instructor. In addition to her work in fitness and health, Dewar spent 15 years working in college athletics.