Kris Carr

Kris Carr


Mindful Movement and Play: Take Care of Yourself by Moving Your Body

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Hiya Gorgeous!

Movement and play are some of the best parts of being a kid. Kids crawl, climb, hula-hoop and somersault with abandon. Finger painting, building forts, and playing dress-up are essential activities.

Then there’s a shift, and we start to think that stuff isn’t for us anymore. We value work over play. Sitting at our desks over movement. Doing what we’re supposed to do over living and LOVING our lives. We run ourselves ragged and might even start to forget what really matters—feeling our best and celebrating our precious selves.

I’m here to tell you that movement and play are just as important (and appropriate!) for adults as they are for kids. They’re life forces. Spiritual gold. The passions and pursuits that make us feel alive. The health benefits are endless. That’s what renewing—the fifth and final pillar in my 5 Pillars of Wellness—is all about.

This post is the last in my 5 Pillars of Wellness series. We’ve talked about optimizing what you’re eating, drinking, thinking, and how you’re resting. Now it’s time to focus on how to take care of yourself through renewing. I can’t think of a better way to supercharge this new year with a whole lotta motivation and energy!

What Does Renewing Mean?

The renewing pillar is about moving your body, pursuing your passions, and feeding your soul. To renew is to do what you love with the people and furry friends you love. As you can imagine, that can mean a lot of different things to different people. So to simplify matters, I break this pillar into two primary categories: movement and play.

Today we’ll dive into each of these aspects of renewing, talk about why they’re so important, and how you can cultivate them in your life. Ready to have some fun?

How to Renew and Take Care of Yourself with Everyday Movement

The first part of the renewing pillar is about moving your body. I probably don’t have to tell you about the importance of regular exercise, but in case you need a reminder that it’s good for more than just burning calories…

What are the Benefits of Moving?

The benefits of moving are staggering:

  • Strengthens your muscles
  • Increases your blood flow
  • Supports bone density (and reduces loss of bone density)
  • Movement improves mood and can improve anxiety and depression and maintain good mental health (source)
  • Boosts your endurance, energy, and heart rate variability
  • Keep you mobile, balanced, and flexible as you age (joint health)
  • More movement can lead to better sleep, focus, and mental clarity
  • Fitness can relieve stress and other tension
  • Reduce the risk for health conditions such as heart disease (positive impact on heart health)
  • Physical activity can boost the immune system
  • Movement reduces the risk of certain cancers and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Walking can decrease cognitive decline and help regrow structures in the brain
  • Physical activity can even increase sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone)

Whew. Believe it or not this extensive list only covers a few of the many benefits of moving and staying active. I’m sure there are many other things we could add. But the big picture is that physical activity and everyday movement has a positive impact on the human body. Why not make mindful movement and play part of your daily life? It might be just what you need to improve your overall health.

What Exercise Is and what it ISN’T

But there’s something we need to clear up right away: Exercise is not punishment. We get a lot of messages throughout our lives that regular exercise has to be painful, extremely strenuous, and something you dread. But that mindset is not only demotivating but it’s simply not true!

Exercise can be whatever you want it to be. Ask your body what it really needs. Physical activity can be mindful, intuitive, accessible, and gentle. And yes, it can be challenging and sweaty too, if that feels good to you. It should refuel your energy tank and leave you feeling refreshed—that’s why it’s part of the renewing pillar!

Above all else, prioritize fun and enjoyment in your workout routine. If you’re not having a good time, give yourself permission to try something else. If strengthening exercises in a gym aren’t your jam, embrace some outdoor activities like walking or biking.

How Often Should You Implement Physical Activity?

The amount and intensity of the physical activity you need weekly depends on factors like your age, lifestyle, whether or not you have chronic health challenges, etc. But generally speaking, aim to move your body four to five times a week for at least 30-45 minutes per session.

It’s also a good idea to vary your activities so you get a mix of strength and aerobic exercises to keep things interesting! Jump on the trampoline with your kids, do some light stretching at the office, go for a walk with your pup, or try chair yoga. Do whatever makes you smile and sweat.

This isn’t professional medical advice: If you have any questions about your specific exercise needs, please consult with your integrative doc!

Tips for Busting through Common Exercise Roadblocks

This might sound familiar: You decide it’s time to recommit to regular movement. You’re excited and motivated at first—staying on track might even feel easy. Then one day you slip up and beat yourself up for it. And that negative self-talk makes you feel like crap, so you skip your next session, and the next session—you get the picture. I’ve been there!

So let’s chat about how to navigate some of the most common exercise challenges so you can start and stick with your routine (and grasp all of those amazing health benefits we talked about earlier).

Do You Have Trouble Making Time for Movement?

Challenge: You have trouble finding time for exercise and it’s often the first thing to go when life gets busy.

Solution: Move where you are, when you can! We may think that exercise means spending hours at the gym every week, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can maintain a healthy balance in your life. Get up from watching tv and do a few jumping jacks during commercials. Take breaks from your desk and walk around your office. Go for a quick stroll after each meal. You get the idea!

Breaking movement down into short sessions makes it feel more doable and easier to fit into your busy schedule. Also, remember that a few minutes a day is better than nothing. It will still contribute to your overall health. Thank yourself for making the time, however much it is!

What If You Can’t Find an Activity You Love?

Challenge: You can’t seem to find an activity you really enjoy and want to stick with. It might feel like you’ve already tried every form of exercise out there.

Solution: Actually exercising is the only thing that needs to be consistent in your exercise routine. Just because some people fall in love with running marathons and do it for the rest of their lives doesn’t mean you have to!

Go line dancing one day and cross-country skiing the next. Go on a bike ride or give water aerobics a try. There are so many ways to move your body, so switch things up as often as you want.

What if You Get Discouraged with a Lack of Progress?

Challenge: You get discouraged when you don’t see results on the timeline you set for yourself. You feel like throwing in the towel if you don’t meet your goals.

Solution: It’s time for a mindset shift. Rather than thinking of exercise as a means to an end (weight loss, endurance, muscle growth, etc.), try to see it as an essential part of your wellness journey. It won’t always follow a straight line. But when you embrace an active lifestyle to honor your body and stay healthy, you’ll enjoy it more and probably do it more often!

What If You Don’t Like Exercising Alone?

Challenge: You find it hard to get and stay motivated on your own. You thrive with other people around, so plugging in headphones and lifting weights in solitude isn’t your idea of a good time.

Solution: Moving your body doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. Make a date to walk and talk with a friend. Call a loved one while you’re on the treadmill (don’t mind the heavy breathing!). Sign up for a group activity or class where you can meet new people and get your sweat on at the same time (win-win!). Remember that your fitness journey is your own and you get to do what you enjoy to stay healthy.

Why Play is an Essential Part of Mental Health at Every Age

Now onto the second part of my renewing pillar: Play! As we discussed earlier, play is not just for kiddos. But as we “grow up,” there’s a lot of pressure to get the job done and take ourselves seriously. So play often ends up falling off our plates.

And where does that leave us? Working, stressing, doing, giving—constantly withdrawing from our energetic bank accounts without making enough deposits to maintain a balance. But when we’re regularly trying to function in the red, we simply can’t do or feel our best.

I love the renewing pillar so much because there’s lots of flexibility to make it your own. That’s especially true when we’re talking about play. Play is whatever replenishes your energy and makes you happy, plain and simple.

It should reduce stress and overwhelm, balance your mood, and expand your heart and mind. That could mean spending time with other people, reading a book, learning watercolors, traveling, volunteering, cooking—you name it! It will have a positive impact on your mental health (and cardiovascular health).

How to Make Play Part of Your Self-Care Routine

The biggest challenge folks tend to have with play is consistently making the space for it. We’re programmed to think it has less value than bringing home the vegan bacon, taking care of other people, etc. But make no mistake: Play is as important as any other part of your wellness practice. It’s as good for your well-being as eating healthy and getting sufficient sleep.

Remember, stress is the number one catalyst for disease. It can literally kill us. Joy is the antidote to stress. And because it brings us joy, play is the ultimate prescription. We can’t avoid all stress, so the key is how we lift ourselves out of it (or heal after it hits us).

So here’s your prescription, dear one: Make play a non-negotiable part of your self-care routine. Do whatever you need to do to make it happen. Put it in your calendar, get a babysitter, and book that playdate with your bestie.

Fit play in whenever and wherever you can. If you’re especially short on time, start with a micro-action that feels doable, like listening to an audiobook on your commute. Every deposit into your energy bank account (no matter how small) counts!

Renewing is thriving!

At the end of the day, the renewing pillar is about making time for the stuff that brings us joy—that lights us up and makes us feel truly alive. So much of our time is reserved for things we “have” to do. We expend our energy all day, every day (yes, even on the work and people we love!). If we never pause to fill up our tanks, then we’re running on empty—and running on empty leads to breakdowns.

If you take one thing away today, I hope it’s that this pillar is just as important as the rest. It’s not something to deprioritize when life gets crazy. Instead, make renewing a non-negotiable part of your self-care routine. When you do, you’ll start to feel more energized and excited about life. And when that zest is in your heart, it creates a domino effect of creativity, abundance, innovation, and impact.

Your turn: What’s one way you can take care of yourself with mindful movement or play? What do you like to do to stay active? Let me know in the comments below.

Peace & playtime,

Add a comment
  1. Sophie Hill says:

    I love this! We all need a bit of motivation to keep us going!

  2. Scarlet says:

    You are so right. It is so important to recharge so you can be your best self and not get burned out. Great tips and inspiring ideas. Thanks!

  3. Carla Piatoff says:

    Hi! I realize it’s not for everyone, but get a dog! Preferably adopt one. Over the years my dogs have brought me so much joy! They keep you young and if you’re a good dog owner, you get to be outside, plus you get exercise by walking and playing. 🙂

    • Jennifer says:

      What a great idea, Carla! We are big fans of pets here at Team Crazy Sexy. What a great way to get in both movement and play!

  4. Pam says:

    I play with my grandchildren who are grown lol and my greatgrandchilden. Great grands 6 months, 8 months, 2 yrs,3 and 5 and one due in june. I am 70.

  5. Nadya says:

    Hi, this comment is for this posting and my goal for 2020,…. .
    To help yourself is possible only being yourself. Often we betray ourselves and don”t noticing what we do. It is big sin to betray yourself. The big sin to be afraid of looking different by: acting, life understanding, ideas having, charging, reacting. The condition however existing to be framed by law of Life which is Love and Harmony.
    myself and others I wish for 2020 take care of self true voice and bravery of honesty in any move and word. To go towards reason being on Earth in any circumstances and conditions, to be creative in overcoming problems . To be guided by God inside of ourselves.
    I wish Kris classes will help to make clear vision of personal insides and environment around, of direction and goal. God be with all of us. Thank you, dearest Kris, for your devotion, courage and love.

  6. larry fogle says:

    Hi,Kris…I read your blog completely.I do my treadmill everyday at a certain time…I go to CALORIE MODE and burn at least 800 calories a day….I stay away from sweets…do lawn work….I stay as active as I can…..even lift weights …,I think ..I am going by your blog as closely as possible…….I would recommend a orange and water diet meal at least once a day also.I love your blogs…….you’re a wonderful person,kris

  7. Kim - My Joy Goggles says:

    This is a great post. I couldn’t agree with you more. Once I stopped thinking of exercise as something I “have to do” and started thinking of it as self care, I began to be consistent.

  8. Adiyanto Nday says:

    Thanks again Kris Carr. You always the Best!

  9. Vesna says:

    Good Morning Kris!
    This email is such a great reminder – that has taken so long to penetrate my cranium! Exercise has been the first thing to get scratched off of my morning schedule when the time slots got really full. I’m looking at my daily planner and filling in non-negotiables – exercise is one of them. I’m going to spend a little more time outside this winter and mix up my exercise routine.
    I’m starting IIN on Monday (thanks to you!) so scheduling self-care in my day will help me do better in my classes.
    Thank you Kris for your dedication in helping us achieve our health goals.
    xoxox Vesna

  10. Susan Curnow says:

    I walk with my husband and dogs three times per week for about 40 minutes. I walk alone three times per week for 40 minutes. He bikes on those days. We do ballroom dancing for two hours twice per month. I stretch daily. I cook most days which I enjoy. I rarely sit for long in the morning. We shop or go to antique stores in the afternoon.

  11. Veronica says:

    Perfect timing. This is the hardest pillar for me to follow. Even thinking about playing had come to mean “time wasted” in my mind. I was asked recently by a friend when I last did something just for fun or happiness and I couldn’t even remember. I’m trying to focus on this pillar without becoming stressed about doing it. I’m worried I may even get stressed about making sure I’m playing enough. ?

  12. Darlene says:

    So important!! I am 53 and as I age I realize the value of movement and learning new things. So important for the health of your body and mind! These have been lifelong practices for me — the impact I feel when I am not able to go for a walk or get to the gym is profound and I try to incorporate some type of movement into every day. Thank you for this post!

  13. Naureen says:

    This is lovely. I keep coming across suggestions on how I should ‘have more fun’ or ‘play more’ but am often stumped on how to do this properly. My way of incorporating play will be playing with a football on my carpeted living room (yes) – it brings me joy and fun!

  14. Bernice says:

    Thank you so much Kris – after spending last year bedridden with pain – now is the time to get moving again – my new years resolution is to enjoy the sunshine again – go for small walks to build up my energy again – take joy from nature and and spend time with my furry and human friends again – thank you for your article and encouragement to take joy from life again – take care xx

    • kris says:

      I am so happy you’re feeling better. What a beautiful plan, Bernice. It sounds like you have a terrific year ahead of you. Thank you for the kind words. Xo.

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