Inspiring Quotes on Why Movement Matters

Here's a few cool quotes about movement that you may find inspiring or interesting. In the modern world we tend to value "higher" mental functions like reasoning and language over "lower" functions like motor control and body awareness. And therefore kids spend less time in recess, adults spend more time in office chairs looking at computers, and our mental lives become more virtual and abstract as opposed to concrete and embodied.

kids playing
kids playing

So it is good to remember that our capacity to think and feel is supported in large part by the neural hardware and software that creates our ability to move and perceive. By developing one we develop the other. It's all connected of course.

This is why mind-body traditions such as mediation, yoga, martial arts and dance have been around for thousand of years. It's part of why movement matters, even in a world where many of us don't need to move to put dinner on the table.

Here are some inspiring quotes that provide some powerful reminders of this important fact.

From neurologist and author Oliver Sacks:

Much more of the brain is devoted to movement than to language. Language is only a little thing sitting on top of this huge ocean of movement.

From Henry David Thoreau:

Me thinks that the minute my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow, as if I had given vent to the stream at the lower end and consequently new fountains flowed into it at the upper."

Me thinks too!

From neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert:

We have a brain for one reason and one reason only -- that’s to produce adaptable and complex movements. Movement is the only way we have affecting the world around us… I believe that to understand movement is to understand the whole brain. And therefore it’s important to remember when you are studying memory, cognition, sensory processing, they’re there for a reason, and that reason is action.

 From Moshe Feldenkrais:

I believe that the unity of mind and body is an objective reality. They are not just parts somehow related to each other, but an inseparable whole while functioning. A brain without a body could not think … the muscles themselves are part and parcel of our higher functions.

From roboticist Hans Moravec:

Encoded in the large, highly evolved sensory and motor portions of the human brain is a billion years of experience about the nature of the world and how to survive in it. The deliberate process we call reasoning is, I believe, the thinnest veneer of human thought, effective only because it is supported by this much older and much powerful, though usually unconscious, sensorimotor knowledge. We are all prodigious olympians in perceptual and motor areas, so good that we make the difficult look easy. Abstract thought, though, is a new trick, perhaps less than 100 thousand years old. We have not yet mastered it.

From philosopher Blaise Pascal:

The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.

And I will conclude with three more artsy and less sciency quotes (not that there's anything wrong with that!) by dance choreographer Martha Graham:

Nothing is more revealing than movement.

All that is important is this one moment is movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.

Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It's a miracle, and the dance is a celebration of that miracle.

Good stuff right?

If you love movement, share this post with people who need inspiration to get moving: office workers stuck in chairs; gym-goers trudging through boring workouts; and parents or teachers who think kids should spend less time on the playground and more time in the classroom.