SoulCare® Practices

A New Mindset on Movement

For much of my life, exercise was a task to complete. I would block out time in my calendar, morning or after work, setting aside moments for this activity. To get started, I needed to slip into my workout clothes, lace up the right shoes, and head to my local gym or, if the weather permitted, venture outside. This approach to physical activity worked during seasons of my life when things were more predictable. Now, as a working mom with two busy young children, maintaining a regular routine feels like a luxury. The first block of time to disappear from my day is exercise.

Why does something as natural as moving our bodies seem to be so challenging? Our modern lifestyle has shifted our way of life from physical labor to mental labor. With everything more accessible and deliverable, physical communities require us to move less to meet our daily needs. Smart devices can make us feel like we have gone somewhere, done something, or connected with someone without having to even get off of our couch. Okay, so there are many reasons why it feels harder than we expect.

This is a big problem, because our bodies seek movement and thrive because of it. When we fall into patterns of prolonged inactivity, our bodies start to feel stiff and our mind becomes foggy. In contrast, movement creates energy that passes through our body, awakening it from head to toe. Movement wakes up all parts of our body, allowing our cells, tissues, and organs to function better. Hormones are released reducing our levels of stress and improving our mood and focus.

Movement comes in all forms. It is how we find our place in the world from birth. From a young age, we are in constant motion, growing and exploring, almost unable to stay still. It's how we learn about ourselves, others, and the world around us. What would happen if we maintained this attitude towards physical activity as adults? Instead of gym memberships, yoga and bootcamps we are adding more movement into our lives by exploring a new places, bringing curiosity to a new activity, discovering how something works and deepening our relationships.

It took me some time to shift my perception of physical activity from being confined to structured exercise to something that is more integrated into my daily life. We are organisms meant to move, built in ways that allow us to walk, run, jump, dance, and so much more. It is the way we live our lives. Yet, it feels challenging to allow ourselves the right kind of movement, feeling as though we need structured exercise to do it right. I'm not dismissing the value of exercise but advocating for a holistic approach with fewer barriers between "exercise time" and "life."

When I consider my physical activity as how my body moves throughout the day, rather than how much time I spend at the gym or in sneakers doing a workout, it feels less like a task and more like a way of being in the world. I don’t limit exercise to a place, time, or particular outfit; it's about how I move through the day from place to place, and from one activity to the next. Movement can always be incorporated into my day, regardless of how busy my schedule is or how motivated I feel.

In my day, this can look like walking an extra block or two to appreciate the morning light and sounds after taking my kids to their bus stop before transitioning to my workday. It involves choosing to explore a nearby neighborhood during my son's baseball practice. It's coming together to create a small outdoor garden with my family on the weekend. What it can look like in your day will depend on your daily rhythms and interests.

Even if you are able to maintain a steady block of exercise in your day, viewing movement in this light, I hope, will draw you to new places, inspire you to try new activities, teach you a new way of doing the everyday, and draw you closer to friends and family. Movement is not just about physical well-being but about a richer and more connected human experience. It is a part of who you are, not something you have to do.