As I was thinking of what to blog about this week the idea that came to mind was exercise. The problem was, although an avid exerciser myself (though I have no illusions of being any sort of expert in the field), it almost seemed counterintuitive to write about burning calories on a hunger blog. So why is it that I can’t seem to shake the idea? Here’s my attempt at that answer:
When I think of ELCA World Hunger I don’t just think of our projects which help people to grow and attain the food they need to survive. I don’t just think about water collection systems and domestic hunger grants. In fact, I don’t always think about food! That’s because I also think about advocacy, education, simplicity and sustainability. I know that these are often based on food and water issues, but ultimately our concern is the good health of God’s people, and that includes you and me. Last summer as an intern I learned a lot about domestic obesity and food quality. I also followed the map in our office as the Tour de Revs bicycled across the United States raising awareness for hunger, poverty and wellness issues. Overall, I discovered that ELCA World Hunger isn’t just trying to feed people in the literal sense, “feeding” is also figurative. People need spiritual, mental, emotional and movement food as well. Movement food? Don’t worry this isn’t a term you should know, or one that I have ever even heard someone use, I made it up. What I am referring to is our God-given gift of movement. While we all have different ability levels many of us enjoy running, jumping, walking, climbing, crawling and every other form of movement you can think of. It is my experience that there is something very fulfilling about movement; for me, exercise can even have a spiritual impact. Sometimes, however, movement food can double as emotional food. Remember back when you played double-dutch at recess? Games can also provide the fruits of laughter, social interaction and fun.
Exercise can also be simple and sustainable. You don’t need much to jump rope, go for a run or walk your dog. Snowball fights and hourlong games of freeze tag only require imagination and weather cooperation. In my experience these simple activities can help to sustain both good health and big smiles.
It’s also a lesson, because when we value movement food we teach others through our actions. Exercise, drinking clean water and eating nutritious foods are all powerful ways to practice good health and to thank God for the gift of our bodies.