Daniel Plan 2/23/17: Back to the Joy of Play


I'd like to take a trip down memory lane for a second. Close your eyes and think about your childhood. Specifically, any time spent outdoors. Playing football with your friends. Tossing the baseball around with dad. Building treehouses and forts in the woods. For those of you born before 1980, this should be a fairly easy exercise. 

Unfortunately, for those people born after 1980, these memories are aren't as plentiful. The recollections of those born after 1990 are even more scarce. And for those born after the year 2000? Well, most of what they know about spending time outdoors comes from knowledge gleaned from survival shows on TLC and the Discovery Channel.

Okay, that's not entirely true, but you get my point. People, specifically children, are spending less time outdoors than ever before, making this a prime objective of the Daniel Plan team.

There's a phrase in the book that really sticks with me:

Back then we called it “play,” and we loved every minute of it. Today, for many, we call it “exercise” and count every minute of it, longing for it to be over.
— The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life

This brings us to a crucial keystone of the Daniel Plan's fitness component...PLAY.

What ever does PLAY mean though? For those of you that guessed it might be an acronym of some sort, you'd be right on the money. Here's a breakdown.

Prayerful movements throughout the day
Loosening breaks
Active games and aerobic activity
Youthful strength training

All of the elements found in the PLAY method are essential to an effective fitness program.

Today, we're going to cover the first one...prayerful movement throughout the day. 

Research has proven that performing movements such as standing, fidgeting and light stretching, even for just a minute or two every hour can make a big difference to your health and well-being.

Daniel Plan suggests that you can also use those movements to strengthen your relationship with God.

To help you experience motion and devotion throughout your busy day, here are a few ideas to help you from 9 to 5, or whenever you find yourself sitting for long periods of time. A great idea is to set your alarm on your phone to do a few of the following every hour:

  • stand for 1-2 minutes (thank God for the many blessings in your life)
  • stretch your shoulders and arms (and close your eyes to worship God in silence)
  • squat up and down 5-10 times (and thank God for a strong, healthy body)
  • stretch your lower back by reaching down to touch your toes, hold for a few seconds, stand and repeat (and express your devotion to God and you humble yourself)
  • perform deep breathing for a couple of minutes (inhaling God's strength and goodness)
  • stand or pace when you're talking on the phone (thinking about how Daniel listened, walked and talked with God)
  • do 10 desk push-ups (thanking God for the use of your muscles)
  • go for a walking meeting (thinking of the time as fellowship)
  • turn on some music and dance
  • take a 2-minute recess (reminding yourself that God loves when you smile and laugh)
  • take the stairs instead of the elevator (thanking God for all he has done in your life)
  • stand when doing desk work (reminding you to stand for God in all you do)

Before I leave you for today, I'd like to refer you to an informational site on "sitting disease." If you haven't heard of it, you'll be in for a real shock. According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting has become the new smoking.

Today's Bible verse:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
— Deuteronomy 31:6