On this #LiveWholeHealth exercise, we talk about playing and moving our bodies for fun. Think back to when you were a kid and you spent your days bike riding, climbing trees, playing tag, and simply running around the neighborhood with friends. Try to imagine what it felt like to use your body in all these ways. Can you recall climbing into bed after a long day of swimming? Remember that feeling of pure exhaustion?

Why do we stop using our bodies for fun? When did we decide that moving our bodies was too much work, too painful, or a waste of time?

Maybe you have aches and pains that keep you from enjoying simple things like walking with a partner or friend, or working in the yard. Maybe you have gotten out of shape and you don’t even feel strong enough to swing your grandchild in a circle. Maybe you get out of breath trying to keep up with your dog as it runs down a forest path.

It’s never too late to take a small step back into enjoying your body, even with its age, flaws and aches. We may not be running a marathon or playing a full game of soccer, but we can begin to move our bodies and call to mind that wonderful feeling that we once had.

In this 14-minute Tai chi video featuring Memphis VA Clinical Psychologist Cynthia Mealer, you can take that small step and move your body mindfully, gently and playfully.

More information

If you want more Tai Chi or want to learn other ways to move the body, check out the videos and resources here: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/moving-body.asp.

Depression can cause us to get into a deep rut and that prevents us from moving our bodies and taking care of ourselves. Depression is a common but serious disorder – one that typically requires some treatment to manage. The good news is that even the most severe cases of depression are treatable. If you are struggling with depression that is affecting your life, VA professionals can help.  Learn about VA resources here: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/depression/index.asp.


Andrea Young is a field implementation team consultant with the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation.

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