In today’s fast-paced world, the concept of “Movement as Medicine” has emerged as a powerful mantra for overall health and well-being. Beyond physical fitness, this concept supports the profound mind-body benefits of regular exercise, of which many of us who work in the health and fitness industry are acutely aware of and promote in our businesses. But do we truly practice what we prescribe to our members and clients? By acknowledging that exercise and physical activity release mood-enhancing endorphins, reduce stress, and foster a strong mind-body connection, we can better navigate the challenges of modern life. “Movement as Medicine” encourages us to embrace exercise as a holistic approach to nurturing mental and emotional well-being, offering a path to a healthier, happier existence in today’s often hectic lifestyles.

Particularly, during busy periods, such as the weeks leading up to holidays or the new year, promoting exercise as a stress reducer and mood booster will help you and your team members manage the pressures of a demanding work environment. Lower stress levels lead to increased productivity, smarter and faster decision-making, and a more positive workplace atmosphere. Happy, motivated employees are more likely to stay engaged and committed to their roles, reducing turnover and recruitment costs.

Furthermore, regular physical activity enhances focus and cognitive function. This means sharper critical thinking skills and creative thinking, which are essential for innovation and growth in any business. Exercise moreover enhances overall energy levels and vitality, leading to increased stamina and endurance throughout the workday. Additionally, a commitment to employee well-being through exercise can result in fewer sick days and reduced healthcare expenses for your company.

Did you know that Alberta and Ontario Health Care Providers are able to provide patients with a prescription for physical activity? The initiative, “Prescription to Get Active,” is a real thing.  Learn more at

Why not make your own prescription to get/stay active this holiday season? Here are 12 days of holiday mind-body exercises to help you stay physically and mentally well during the festive season and set you and your employees up for a strong start to the New Year:

  1. Morning Stretches: Start your day with gentle stretching to wake up your body and increase mobility.
  2. Deep Breathing: Practice deep breathing exercises to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Deep, slow breathing can activate the body’s relaxation response, while shallow, rapid breathing can trigger the stress response.
  3. Yoga Session: Yoga has been practiced for over 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest forms of mind-body wellness. Engage in a yoga practice that focuses on balance, flexibility, and mindfulness.
  4. Nature Walk: Take a mindful walk in a local park or natural setting to clear your mind and connect with nature.
  5. Meditation: Dedicate time for meditation to calm your thoughts and enhance mental clarity. Regular mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase the thickness of the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with decision-making and attention. Start with a small amount of time (e.g., 5 min.) and work your way up from there. Research shows that meditating for 13 minutes a day for eight weeks led to decreased negative mood state, enhanced attention, working memory, recognition memory, and decreased state anxiety.
  6. Dance Party: Have a spontaneous dance party to boost your mood and get your heart rate up. Attending a group fitness cardio or dance-style fitness class can do the same thing –moving to music is great exercise for boosting mood at the same time getting physical simply feels good!
  7. Strength Training: Incorporate strength exercises to maintain or build muscle strength and tone.
  8. Healthy Cooking: Prepare a nutritious holiday meal and involve your family or friends to make it a fun and social activity. Consider gifting yourself or your family a culinary experience at your favorite restaurant, resort, or winery.
  9. Tai Chi or Qigong: Try these gentle, flowing movements to improve balance and reduce stress.
  10. Volunteer Work: Engage in community service or volunteer activities to boost your sense of purpose and well-being, not to mention it is a wonderful way to contribute to your community.
  11. Gratitude Journaling: Reflect on the things you are grateful for and jot them down in a journal to cultivate a positive mindset. Gratitude turns what little you have into abundance. Gratitude is so much more than saying thank you. Gratitude changes your perspective of your world. Gratitude is the gift that will keep on giving as we receive and recognize it.
  12. Self-Care Day: Dedicate a day to self-care activities, such as a spa day, a good book, or simply relaxing in a warm bath.

Incorporate these exercises into your holiday routine and share them with your employees to ensure a balanced and joyful mind-body experience during the festive season. Why not organize a holiday challenge and encourage your team to share your commitment and what they do to complete the challenge each day?

In closing, let these 12 exercises be your personalized prescription for cultivating mind-body harmony and promoting overall well-being this holiday season. So, step into the rhythm of these exercises, dance through the holidays with intention, and witness the profound impact of movement as your ultimate form of medicine. Here’s to a season of flourishing health and joyous MO’vement!

Maureen (Mo) Hagan
Maureen (Mo) Hagan

Maureen (Mo) Hagan is COO at canfitpro, and a global fitness ambassador recognized for her leadership in the fitness industry that spans almost four decades. She is an international award-winning fitness professional and her passion for moving people extends beyond the fitness industry as a licensed physiotherapist, and with her work on the Canadian National Board of Directors for Prescription To Get Active.