Sunday, July 17, 2022

Get to Know Human Powered Movement!

When the pandemic hit and we all found ourselves in lockdown, Adam Bratton, a marketing professional by day, decided he would set a personal challenge to bike every street of Huntersville, where he lives. He posted his progress on social media, largely to inspire others to get up, get out and get moving at a time when we were otherwise trapped at home. 

Turns out, lots of people found his challenge fun and inspiring -- so much so, that he realized there was something significant behind his notion. People were -- and still are -- hungry for encouragement to engage in physical activity and permission to have fun doing so. 

In May 2020, Adam launched the Human Powered Movement platform with a mission to facilitate greater human-powered experiences in all of us. The organization does that by offering novel events and challenges to keep people active, and by creating inspirational stories to keep people motivated. 

Take, for example, my first Human Powered Movement event: The South Fork Sampler. This scavenger-hunt-style adventure race had participants paddling, biking and running, all from a homebase at the Catawba Riverkeeper's Boathouse in McAdenville, NC, just 20 minuets from uptown. 

I have done a number of triathlons before, but this was a whole new experience. Mostly because it was engaging in different ways and, most importantly, just plain fun. Plus, it was accessible to people at all levels of fitness and competitiveness. Reflecting on the event afterward, I realized how long it had been since I went out and simply played. 

That's what you get with Human Powered Movement, which has a number of other events in the works. Next up: Rocky River Shiver, a mountain biking race, with a twist, of course, and Psychoactive, a last-runner-standing race through wildflower fields. Cool, right? 

"I'm not reinventing the wheel," says Adam. "My goal is to give folks an alternative to the typical, mainstream events and activities. I can set up a traditional 5k any day, and those are great. But Human Powered Movement is less about catering to the masses and more about creating an authentic community." 

Most of Human Powered Movement's events include both mental and physical dynamics (see: "last-runner standing") because it enhances the overall experience. 

"A lot of what I'm trying to do," says Adam," is pull that out of people. Whether you want to climb Mt. Everest or walk the dog around the block, there's meaning in being out and being active. People inherently and deep down like to go out and play. There’s something about that. I can’t explain it from a biological perspective, but it’s true." 

In addition to events, Human Powered Movement offers challenges, like the one our family did at the end of May, called Move Your Age. This free, virtual challenge was simple, but compelling: Find an activity to do for the number of years old you are. (Ex. Run 40 miles in one week, do 12 jumping jacks, or spend 25 minutes kayaking.) Everyone who logged an activity was eligible for prizes. (Our family won a gift card to Recover Brands. Sweet!)

Other upcoming challenges include Find Your Summit, where participants are invited to set a goal summit to virtually climb with any variety of human powered effort during the month of October, and Holiday Streaking, an invitation to complete a streak of 32 straight days of activity from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. 

A throughline to all of Human Powered Movement's work is a nod to playfulness.

"Everyone likes getting out and doing things," Adam says, "but without a purpose. It's all about life balance. And substantive interactions, not transactional." 

Perhaps it's not surprising that Human Powered Movement also embraces a very intentional and unapologetic promotion of sustainability and environmentalism. 

"It makes sense, right?" says Adam. "When we love to run trails or ride greenways, we don't want to dodge garbage. We've got to take care of the places we live and engage in recreation." 

In addition to aligning with outdoor-friendly supporters and sourcing their merchandise from eco-conscious suppliers, Human Powered Movement is a member of 1% For The Planet, a global network of businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations tackling our planet's most pressing environmental issues. Plus, many of Human Powered Movement's challenges and events go to support a variety of environmental non-profits throughout Charlotte. 

(Check out this video of Human Powered Movement's bike ride to pick up a shipment of DeFeet socks. Human Powered Movement also played a role in this Local Supply Chain video in partnership with Recover Brands.)

When I asked Adam how he came up with all of his ideas for Human Powered Movement, his answer was simple: "I like to explore, to see what's next. But I'm especially interested in thinking of ways to help others find their inspiration for human-powered movement." 

Hense, the title "Head Enabler," as Adam has officially dubbed himself. 

"At the end of the day," he says, "that's what this movement -- the Human Powered Movement -- is all about: To enable you to do these things that make you feel alive, and to help you meaningfully connect with others." 

Want to get to know Adam a little better? Check out the podcast he's co-hosting with Recover Brand's Bill Johnston, called Be the Impact. It's worth a listen!

Interested in joining the Human Powered Movement? Sign up for their newsletter to get a first look at journal entries and news and information about upcoming events, activities and challenges. 

And, of course, follow @humanpoweredmovement on social. 

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