As ICU survival continues to improve, clinicians are faced with short- and long-term consequences of critical illness. Deconditioning and weakness have become common problems in survivors of critical illness requiring mechanical ventilation. Recent literature, mostly from a medical population of patients in the ICU, has challenged the patient care model of prolonged bed rest. Instead, the feasibility, safety, and benefits of early mobilization of mechanically ventilated ICU patients have been reported in recent publications. The benefits of early mobilization include reductions in length of stay in the ICU and hospital as well as improvements in strength and functional status. Such benefits can be accomplished with a remarkably acceptable patient safety profile. The importance of interactions between mind and body are highlighted by these studies, with improvements in patient awareness and reductions in ICU delirium being noted. Future research to address the benefits of early mobilization in other patient populations is needed. In addition, the potential for early mobilization to impact long-term outcomes in ICU survivors requires further study.