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2022 Not a Walk Fundraiser - Learn about Types of Movement

As part of the 2022 Eating Disorder "Not a" Walk Fundraiser, EDCI would like to build awareness around the impact of movement on the development of eating disorders in Iowa; by differentiating the types of movement prevalent in the development, maintenance, and recovery process. We believe that movement can be broken down into three categories: Joyful movement, purposeful movement, and dutiful movement. Each with their own driving motivation, expected outcome, and impact on our physical and mental well-being. We hope that each of our community will be able to find and incorporate joyful movement into your every day/week/monthly lives.


Purposeful Movement: Biking to get your morning coffee or pastry. Taking your dog [or cat or guinea pig] for their afternoon walk. Using the stairs in the office because the elevator is broken. Cooking yourself dinner. Spending the weekend painting your spare bedroom. Planting, weeding, or harvesting your garden. Strolling through the weekend Farmer’s Market. These are all examples of purposeful movement. ​ Purposeful movement meets a need. Making sure we are fed or our homes are clean. Getting us to social engagements. These are activities that require movement for successful completion; and it is the type of movement that is difficult to avoid. The nature of purposeful movement is that we have less choice in the amount of movement we engage in. ​ Purposeful movement occurs when:

  • We are moving to meet a personal need.

  • This movement is necessary for the completion of a task.

  • We are not moving for the purpose of exercising.

  • This movement has been built into our everyday lives.

Purposeful movement is a regular part of our lives and has limited impact on our emotional wellbeing. Therefore, it also plays a limited role in the development of, or recovery from, an eating disorder. Dutiful Movement: Waking up at 5AM for a HIIT class because all of your coworkers will be there. Running extra miles because you got dessert with lunch. Buying a gym membership because of your ‘New Year's Resolution’ to lose weight. Adding a second workout today because you won’t get one tomorrow. Going for a run instead of sleeping in just because your partner is. These are examples of dutiful movement. Dutiful movement comes with an expectation. When we engage in dutiful movement we are moving because we feel like we have to. There is limited [or no] joy in dutiful movement. We feel a sense of guilt or shame for not participating in these activities. ​ Dutiful movement may be seen as:

  • Movement that we compulsory engage in.

  • An obligation. Or just another thing that needs to be checked off our ‘to-do’ list.

  • Movement that carries guilt with it if we either don’t engage in it; or don’t complete as much as we expected.

  • Movement that follows a rigid structure or schedule.

  • Unjoyful. We don’t look forward to engaging in this activity and we don’t feel joyful or fulfilled following it.

This is the type of movement that can become harmful in the development, maintenance, and recovery of eating disorders. The sense of shame and failure associated with dutiful movement is what keeps us in a cycle of movement as a form of punishment and fuels the need to move as for a sense of achievement. Joyful Movement: Going for a walk with your partner after work to talk about your day. Spending a Saturday afternoon playing frisbee golf or kayaking with a friend. Joining a club soccer league. Going for a sunrise or sunset hike. Enjoying a casual run on a sunny afternoon. Taking a gentle yoga class at the end of your day. Even engaging in massage work, acupuncture, or chiropractic care can be considered movement. These are examples of engaging in joyful movement. ​ Think of the activities that you engaged in as a child. What you chose to do just for fun. This is joyful movement. These activities ignite your heart and soul. This is the type of movement that you choose to engage in with the only expectation being that you enjoy it. Those of us at EDCI want to focus on incorporating more of this movement into our everyday lives: We know that we are engaging in joyful movement when:

  • Our choice of movement prioritizes pleasure.

  • The decision to engage in movement is a choice, not an expectation.

  • The chosen movement makes us feel good, both physically and mentally.

  • Also allows the option of choosing rest or less ‘active’ movement.

  • We are listening to our body's needs while engaging [or not] in movement.

Joyful movement can be a beneficial piece of self-care, eating disorder recovery, and generally helpful movement. Developing the ability to differentiate the type of joyful movement/rest that our bodies require increases our self awareness. Through this we can regularly make sure our needs are met and we can develop a closer, more trusting relationship with our bodies.



We hope that you also continue to spread the message of self care and self compassion through regularly engaging in joyful rest and movement.


To continue spreading awareness about eating disorders and related symptoms, concerns and treatment, please consider participating in EDCI's annual Not a Walk fundraiser. Any and all participation helps us to continue our mission of creating an Iowa free from eating disorders!