The world has become increasingly sedentary. We sit at home, at work, at school, in the car, on our computers and devices. We rarely move intentionally anymore. Pedestrians are getting hit at an alarming rate because they don’t look up. DOWN at your device. We aren’t moving our bodies they way they were designed and there is a growing epidemic of pain, starting at younger ages, even elementary school.
Why aren’t we moving outside?. Is it fear of the unknown, wanting to protect and monitor our littles all the time? Is it inconvenient? Is it for lack of time? Do you know your neighbors? Ever ask for an egg or some butter? When was the last time your kids had a spontaneous playdate in the neighborhood? When was the last time your neighborhood had a street party?
The brain and body work together
I am a firm believer that our behavior becomes our biology and that our form follows our function. Our skeletons were designed to walk and run and we aren’t doing very much of that anymore. There is an integration of our brain to our body and our body back to our brain so if we don’t use our brain the way it was meant to be used… and we don’t use our body the way it was meant to be used… then neither one will work as well.
When you get outside and move, it frees up your worries. While your issues at hand don’t change, your response to them does. Being outside and moving decreases your worry and anxiety. You kind of relax because when you’re outside you feel connected to the earth that’s holding you. You feel nourished by the wind that crosses your face and the fresh air that you breathe in. And with every breath that you take you feel small and worry-free again.
When you don’t move, you forget your place in the world, and you forget how important you are as an individual. When you get connected to your body and your brain you become integrated with the community, your family, and your friends. You will start to feel abundant and realize that without you, this world is a different place.
Get out and move
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to be someone who is a rugged outdoors person. If it’s more like pulling teeth to get you out the door, it’s ok. Any type of movement can be inspirational.
I want to share a story about a colleague friend of mine. She was going through some challenging times with her older daughter. She has an entrepreneur friend who she meets with regularly to work on their businesses (so they aren’t working behind their computers at home without interaction).
On one day, in particular, her friend said that she just needed to go out and go for a walk. My friend didn’t want to have anything to do with that. It was a cold and snowy day and she wanted to get some work done.
My friend got over her resistance and went outside. She went on a hike through the snowy woods for about an hour and a half. When she returned my friend said that she felt lighter.
The lightness didn’t come from talking about what was challenging with her older daughter, it was the movement that was freeing. She said it was amazing how the movement could do that. The physiological effects of movement still amaze me.
Many times we experience this with our children. We have ideas of things that we want to do as a family that are going to be fun… then our kids put a huge roadblock in front of us like climbing Mount Everest. It is a struggle to get our kids to say yes, but what happened with my friend, and what happens 90% of the time with our kids, is that they recognize how freeing, enjoyable, and liberating it is to move and feel all their senses.
Movement also boosts your overall mood. Some of the mental benefits of movement include feeling less depressed, less anxious, and less stressed.
Encouraging our children
Sometimes I come across a family who talks about their child or their baby being content sitting still, watching, and paying attention. They talk about how this is such a good baby and an easy baby because they don’t move a lot. In the back of my mind, I wonder, what could be possibly going on with this baby that they don’t feel comfortable moving? Many times it’s kiddos like these that end up having some challenges paying attention, understanding concepts, or motor coordination later on.
If you can encourage developmental coordination and help your children get some crossbody movement through midline crossing activities then you’re going to see the integration of both sides of the body…. the body to the brain… and the brain to the body.
Your child may be resistant and first, but don’t give up. The more the experience movement the more they will want to move all on their own.
Importance of Movement
We are blessed to have bodies that are able to feel, move, and connect. When we don’t move we clog up our brain, our thoughts, and our emotions. Movement is essential to keep things free flowing.
I hope this helps you see the importance of moving to play, playing to learn, and growing with love because the more we use our brain and our body together the happier we will be!