When we engage in physical activity, our bodies reward us in more ways than we may realize. One of the remarkable gifts of movement is the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin. These chemical messengers have a direct impact on our state of happiness, joy, and overall wellbeing. It’s safe to say that our bodies are wired for happiness through movement. Beyond the immediate neurological rewards, movement is also essential for the proper functioning of our lymphatic system. This system, often overshadowed by its more famous counterpart, the circulatory system, plays a pivotal role in maintaining a robust immune system. As we move our muscles, we effectively pump lymphatic fluids, ensuring the body’s defense mechanisms remain vigilant and active. Now, you may have heard about 10,000 daily steps being a benchmark for good health. While the exact number is debatable, the underlying principle holds true: our bodies crave movement. My question is, beyond hitting step counts, in what ways can we move to bring joy and gratitude into our daily lives.
Consider the Tarahumara, indigenous tribes in North America and Mexico. For them, running is not just a physical activity; it’s a sacred practice deeply intertwined with their culture. Running played a crucial role in persistence hunting, where hunters chased animals on foot. The act of running, for them, is a form of prayer. Each step is a mantra, a “THANK YOU, EARTH.” They express gratitude not only to their bodies but also to the environment that sustains them.
This brings us to a fundamental insight: the quality of our movement matters as much as the quantity. When we infuse our movements with the essence of prayer and presence, they become joyful activities. Our bodies align with the movement, growing stronger and more resilient. It’s an experience you can try for yourself – go for a walk or run, and with each step, internally connect to a sense of gratitude. You’ll notice your movements become lighter and more graceful, and your connection to the world around you deepens.
Finding the type of movement that resonates with your lifestyle and brings you the most joy is essential. Whether it’s dancing, swimming, hiking, or simply stretching, the goal is to move with a sense of purpose and appreciation. For a healthy heart, using your legs to walk, run, or engage your muscles for at least 30-90 minutes daily – it’s the best medicine!
The mastery of movement is not just about keeping our bodies in shape; it’s about nurturing our souls. Our bodies are indeed temples, and movement is a form of worship. So, I urge you to find your own path to joyful movement, a practice that you can embrace with gratitude and make a part of your daily life. In doing so, you’ll not only achieve a happier body but also a happier mind, bringing you closer to the pursuit of happiness we all embrace.
With heartfelt compassion and dedication,
Nisarga Eryk Dobosz – BBTRS, BCST, CI , MER, LOMI.