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Gaining a Fresh Perspective During Move Time     

Oct 18, 2021

This post is by Deb Alexander.

We talk a lot in this Hello Mornings community about moving our bodies. It’s one of our three pillars, along with spending time with the Lord and planning our days. I have long been an advocate of moving daily, and my activity of choice is a long walk. We live right near two small lakes that are connected by a trail that runs through our city. Five or six days a week, I lace up my sneakers and head out the front door. That first breath of fresh air when you step outside is always the very best, isn’t it? Here where I live, it’s fall, so the air smells like fresh mown grass and apple trees. 

What happens, though, when our daily move time starts to feel stale, instead of fresh? What do we do when making the healthy choice to move isn’t tempting but feels rote and even a bit boring? 

We change our perspective.

I just turned 53 years old a few weeks ago, and I’ve been walking an hour a day since I was in college, so I can speak to those seasons when a long walk feels like a chore instead of a joy. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does - when moving my body simply feels like one more thing to check off my list - there are three things that I do.

First, I switch up what I do during my move time. I’m a walker, so if I need a change of pace, I pull out my bike and go for a long ride. I actually did this on Tuesday this week, and I noticed I experienced a literal change of perspective: from my seat on my bike, I saw things I couldn’t see when I walked. Because I was sitting up a bit higher, I could see one of my neighbors down the street was building a beautiful little screened porch behind their family room. Had I not hopped onto my bike that day, I wouldn’t have been able to see over the fence into their backyard!

Sometimes when my walks are feeling stale, I’ll change what I do during my walk. Typically I’ll listen to a podcast on my headphones, but when I need a new perspective, I’ll leave my headphones at home. Instead, I’ll pay attention to the birdsong. I’ll pray as I walk, or I’ll work on memorizing a passage from the Bible. I practice looking up and looking around me. There is so much to see in our beautiful world - and when I pay attention, it’s nearly impossible not to be energized by God’s creation. The world itself is perspective-shifting.

Finally, when my walking workout begins to feel monotonous, I remind myself of a lesson I learned back in college. I’m a competitive person (even if only against myself!) and I know what pace I want to be walking at, for how long, and for what distance. When I was in counseling for an eating disorder years ago, my therapist gave me an assignment: just walk. I was not allowed to time myself or to keep track of my distance. I remember feeling so disconcerted when I left my dorm room that sunny afternoon without my watch on - and then, once I got going, I felt free. I began to learn that day that walking did not have to serve a purpose - which for me, back then, was burning calories. Walking could be a simple joy in my day, a simple healthy choice. 

So when your move time starts to feel stale, friend, I hope you borrow one of my ideas. Choose a different activity, change what you do when you’re moving, or leave your watch and your phone at home. I promise you that the change of perspective will be a breath of fresh air.

Deb Alexander has been married to her college sweetheart for 31 years. They have two children, and have recently become grandparents to a sweet baby boy. Deb was born and raised in New England, and she and her family have called Central Illinois home for over 20 years. She is a writer and a tutor who loves birds, books, long walks on the trail near her home, and family dinners. Deb would love to connect with you on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/debalexander/.

Photo by Noémi Macavei-Katócz on Unsplash


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