Franciscan Spirit Blog

Move Your Body

Woman hiking

People tend to exercise differently. My crazy dad, for example, will run a marathon and then have a hard time walking for the next three days. On the contrary, I remind the heart patients I work with that just 10 minutes of continuous exercise can improve your health.

Moving your body also clears your mind, cultivating a more wholly in-tune lifestyle and nurturing spiritual development. Physical movement can also influence the choices you make in other areas, such as what you eat and how much you sleep.

COVID-19 and its restrictions have knocked many of us off our game. But it’s important to not neglect our bodies.

Build Movement into Your Day

Here are some ideas to work in daily exercise: walk to the bank to deposit a check, bike to the grocery store for that ingredient you’re missing, tend the garden, clean the house, or join your children or grandchildren when they play rather than watch them. Get outdoors in the fresh air; stretch your palms to the sun. Go to a lake, park, or local track. Walk the dog. The opportunities are practically endless!

Ten minutes of continuous exercise—that which elevates your heart rate and stresses your muscles—is truly beneficial. Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym. It can be the difference between walking or cycling instead of driving; or dancing with your spouse, your children, or even by yourself, as long as it is continuous.

How to Get Started

1) Make gradual, realistic changes. Walk for 5 or 10 minutes. Set achievable goals.

2) Persevere. Once you feel results, motivation kicks in and has a domino effect on other parts of your life.

3) Try new things. Be adventurous! Do something you never thought you’d do, such as signing up for a charity walk.

4) Substitute. Walk or cycle instead of drive. Stand rather than sit. Use the stairway rather than the elevator.

5) Start easy. Don’t register to run a marathon two months after you begin walking or jogging (like my dad!). Find a gradual pace that suits you.

6) Recruit a buddy. A partner makes the time pass and the activity more enjoyable. A common activity is healthy for relationships.

Helpful Hints

If time is a problem, walk during your lunch or break time. Carry your exercise gear with you and keep a stress ball or dumbbell under your desk. When running errands, increase the distance between where you park and your destination. Stretch before getting out of bed in the morning.

If chronic pain is an issue, you should start slow and easy when beginning an exercise regimen. Take breaks, sit down, breathe, and rest. Ten minutes is all it takes. If that’s too much, begin with five.

Benefits of Continuous Exercise


  • Sheds extra pounds and maintains a healthy weight
  • Strengthens muscles making normal, daily activities easier
  • Increases energy


  • Releases endorphins, improving your mood, reducing your perception of pain, leaving you feeling good
  • Clears the mind, enhances focus, fosters a positive attitude
  • Helps you sleep more soundly


  • A clear mind is a mind open to God.
  • Take a moment and thank God for the health you do have.
  • Taking a walk outside exposes you to God’s creations and can inspire a peaceful heart.

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