In-Between the Pages: I Like to Move It

Image: Shawn Ward

I know I’ve been spending a few weeks talking to you all about what slowing down and taking a breather can do and it’s benefits. There is a great benefit to moving around and staying active too and I fell like I haven’t paid enough credit to that. in fact, movement is incredibly beneficial.

The primary benefit of movement and activity is to develop and condition the brain. The nervous system, made up of the brain, the spinal cord and miles of nerves, depends on movement to restore the body to homeostasis — or a state of general balance and equilibrium. Prolonged states of no movement will throw us completely out of our equilibrium and if overused can cause cardio vascular problems, diabetes, and obesity.

A body in motion tends to stay in motion right? That’s what they tell us. Why work so hard to stop it? There is a benefit to movement that can increase you presence just like taking a breather can. This is where it gets similar to what I have been talking about these past few weeks. There is a science of movement that incorporates body movement called “body sense.”

”…links between parasympathetic and immune systems are amplified and strengthened via neural circuitry that connects peripheral sensors and effectors in the body with brain-based limbic-prefrontal-sensorimotor networks for embodied self-awareness (body sense) and self-regulatory prefrontal areas.” — Alan Fogel

In other words, moving slowly and with awareness promotes incredible cardiovascular benefits. In fact, mastering exercise with body sense has more benefits than exercising full speed like with running, biking, or gym work outs provide. Interval exercise, with frequent rest periods giving time to pay attention to the body, has benefits over and above long workouts. Some of those that you might be familiar with that use this discipline of body sense are yoga, tai chi, qi gong, aikido.

”Slow movement is like slow food in which all acts related to eating — shopping, preparing, ingesting, and digesting — are done with awareness and presence.” — Alan Fogel

Slowing down to speed up takes on a whole new meaning right?

Movement can also grow your brain! Studies have found that movement can increase the plasticity of your brain or it’s ability to change/grow based on the experiences it has. The movement you take which creates new experiences by you exploring or getting around actually grows your neurons causing them to expand. Literally stimulating the brain with new activities of movement or new individuals to interact with and it reacts by creating new connections that cause it to actually expand in size.

If you want to give your brain the best chance to continue growing and forming new connections, you need to find ways to continually enrich your own world, stay active, meet new people, try new things, and always keep learning.

There is a ton of software and technology out there that creates this perfect timing to get up and move around by “nudging” you into action. We will cover that in a new post down the line. For now, at least once an hour, get up and move around. Not just around the house, but really push yourself to try and experience something different as you move around.

Have a really great rest of the week and I’d love to hear how it’s going! Thanks for reading.

- Shawn

Originally published at

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