5 Hygge Inspired Exercises That'll Actually Make You Look Forward To Working Out
When it comes to healthy living, it's easy to get wrapped up in the physicality of it all and assume that HIIT workouts, green juices, and superfoods are the recipe to a happy and fulfilling life. However, Danish culture has taught us a thing or two about our fast-paced definition of fitness with their term "hygge." When it comes to working out, hygge proves that the mental aspect of fitness is often much more important than the physical. Considering they live in the happiest country in the world, taking a tip or two from the Danes on including hygge-inspired exercises in your routine is a surefire way to revamp your mindset around fitness, and make you look forward to working out every. Damn. Time.
Hygge — pronounced "hoo-ga" — essentially means being able to enjoy life's simple pleasures and filling your heart will all the warmth and goodness. And while sprints and burpees might give you a temporary rush of endorphins, hygge-inspired exercise will unite both your body and your mind, leading to a more tranquil quality of life, with much less stress in the long run.
So, if you feel like you're always dreading hitting up the elliptical or squeezing in a core circuit, try living like the Danes and adding a sprinkle of hygge to your workout routine. These five hygge-inspired exercises will help you come to a place in your life where you actually look forward to lacing up your sneakers or rolling out your yoga mat, so you can stop working out only because you simply feel like you "should."
1. A Soothing Yoga Flow
Yoga is an extremely hygge-centric practice because it's literally a moving meditation, uniting your mind, body, and soul with each asana and breath.
If you're committed to your yoga practice, you're likely already committed to that cozy sense of well-being that comes with a hygge way of life. However, you can cultivate an even greater awareness of these Danish principles while you're on your mat by mindfully setting intentions for your practice, honoring your body, and taking a few more minutes to lie in savasana, rewarding yourself with every ounce of TLC.
Take the good energy from your mat and bring it out into the world; spread it to anyone and everyone you come into contact with. There are no real rules when it comes to hygge, but including a yoga practice into your routine is a lovely way to begin living like the Danes.
2. A Mind-Clearing Meditation Walk
Walking is such an underrated form of exercise, especially in a society that tells you that you should constantly be on the go and pushing your body to the max.
However, even if you do go for walks on the reg, you might be neglecting the traditional meaning of hygge by scrolling through Instagram, answering emails, or stressing over to-do lists while you stroll.
Try turning your walks into a meditation by ditching your phone and literally breathing in your surroundings, with a mindful appreciation for the small pleasures that nature provides you with. Or maybe grab a friend and engage in some quality, meaningful conversation. Community and connection are two of the many things that make hygge what it is.
3. A Challenging Pilates Class
Just because Danish culture isn't typically hyper-focused on physicality, that doesn't mean you have to totally throw any challenge to your muscles out the window.
On the contrary, a difficult pilates class is an incredible mind-body exercise that you can incorporate into your fitness routine to provide growth both physically and mentally.
Pilates has the power to make you feel connected, concentrated, and strong. TBH, the Danes would be proud.
4. A Peaceful Tai Chi Practice
Many people complete a sweat sesh and rush to immediately leave the gym, meaning they barely dedicate any time at all to stretching. Hygge, however, tells us to slow the f*ck down and take up more graceful, peaceful, and soothing exercises, like tai chi.
The combination of meditation, focused breathing, and physical movement that tai chi encourages makes for an optimal way to rid yourself of any toxic mental chatter, and this ancient practice is sure to make you crave movement each and every day.
5. A Refreshing Hike With Friends
Getting out into nature and hitting the trails is already proven to decrease feelings of anxiety and depression, but bringing a few friends with you will earn the ultimate Danish stamp of approval.
That's because the hygge traditions focus deeply on the power of human communication, conversation, and spending time with your loved ones.
Combining a soothing mind-body workout like hiking, with the friendly and engaging properties of hygge, will fill your lungs with fresh air and fuel your body with energy — obviously. But more importantly, it'll also make your heart swell with warmth, and it's sure to leave you smiling from ear to ear post-workout.