Really Moving

My husband is a runner. Since his mid-20s, he has been running consistently, and considering that he is not in his 60s, that gives him more than 40 years of hitting the pavement. When he runs, he listens to music a lot. And when he can’t run, he gets grumpy. I had no idea what running can do for your mental health until I started running again about ten years ago.

I know running isn’t for everyone, but for me, it is. I enjoy the time with my running friends. I enjoy the rhythm of it. I don’t think there is a “runner’s high” as much as there is a runner’s sense of calm.

In many cultures in our world, movement plays a vital role in rituals and routines. Think about the many movement practices, like walking a labyrinth. You walk in a circular pattern laid out on the ground to do this. Swaying during prayer is a practice for many that aims to thoroughly engage both the mind and the body.

Dancing can be a form of ritual and routine, whether a simple or complex pattern of movement or done alone, with another person in groups — it’s all different forms of repetition and movement.

Some people get the same benefit from working a fidget quilt, often used for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or hyperactive kids; the small textiles offer different touch opportunities like opening and closing snaps, feeling rough or smoother surfaces, or even zipping and unzipping. The concept for all these practices is to help people engage in a soothing movement.

We know movement is important to our general health. My brother is scheduled for a hip replacement. The doctors are clear that he will be “getting up” shortly after the procedure. In other words, they will get him moving.

Let’s look at our lives and see what role movement plays to engage, soothe, and delight us. Let’s make sure that we have joy in the movement. Is anyone up for dancing in the kitchen?