I spent the last couple weeks being uber aware of how much I am stationary, especially in a seated position. It scared me really.
Our bodies are meant to move and I always felt I did a pretty good job of it, NOT! I can’t believe how stationary I really am! The other thing I realized is how challenging it can be to change this. Many of the things we “do” require stationary, or close to stationary postures. Think work, meals, visiting, driving, or screen time (smart phone activity, computer work or games and the old stand by, TV). Changing the “way” we do this is challenging but certainly a worthwhile endeavor. Can you imagine ending up in a world where we are likened to the characters of the movie Wall-E? When I saw Wall-E I thought it extreme…but is it?
How reluctant as a society are we to be carless? How many of us are keen to have just something “quick” to eat instead of a home cooked meal or snack. How many of us have electronic relationships only? I’ll put up my hand to most. So here are some of the things I did to try to change my routine, because I know once I get in routine it is easy to keep it.
- Even when I have to sit, I constantly change how I sit: I love chairs with wide seats since I can kneel or sit cross legged, in a lunge position, or even figure four position with the odd forward bend to stretch a bit. If I can alternate sitting and standing, I do (like you can with the sit/stand desks out there). I also take advantage that I can sometimes freely move my arms into rhythmic movements or stretches.
- Same as sitting, when I stand, I change how I stand: We have a tendency to stand with weight on one side of our body as a preference. This can lead to imbalances in the body. Shifting weight to both feet or playing equally with balance on each side can be fun. You can also create some movement while staying put with things like step lunges or side to side lunges, or walking in place.
- I let people know what I am doing and why: “Fidgeting” can be interpreted as a lack of attention or impatience. If there are people around me when I am doing my thing, I let them know what I am doing so they aren’t put off. I get some curious feedback but it is usually positive and have even had someone try to mimic me to try it out.
- I take more breaks: Doing what ever I have to do I take more breaks to move and stretch. When ever you have to go to the bathroom this is a great opportunity to do this. In a bathroom you can move more privately. Although I have gotten some odd looks in the gas station in Radium I usually stop at going to Alberta. It makes me smile. Frequent breaks have actually made me MORE productive. I think clearer in the spaces in between and don’t feel “trapped” til I get things done. For driving my attention to the road goes up dramatically and this means so does my safety.
- I embrace helping out or things I forget: If you are eating a meal being the one to clear the table, do dishes or grab something from the fridge wins brownie points with all usually and gets you moving. When I forgot something, I always take it as a sign I needed more movement and enjoy the walk back to get whatever it is, looking at it as a positive thing and not grumbling. A win-win for attitude and movement.
- I use smaller movements where larger ones just aren’t appropriate: Sometimes it just doesn’t feel right to move more, so I pick unobvious movements or consciously exaggerate the ones I do have to make. One of my favorite sitting movements that is quiet is pelvic tilt/tuck and side to side.
- Option for movement where you have the choice: I had to drop off my car for some mechanical work. Instead of optioning for the curtesy ride home or asking for a friend to help I just scheduled the additional time needed to walk where I needed. Putting a bit of effort into it to plan wasn’t bad and walking was something I looked forward to.
- Change where you keep things: This one is totally up to you but we always place things where they are most convenient. What if we positioned them to get optimal movement? What if you had to squat down to get your silverware in the kitchen or go to the opposite side of the house to get your coat before walking out the main door? Sounds silly but there might be little shifts here you can make to try this out. Who knows maybe it will open up storage space you didn’t think of before.
- Try a squatty potty: Who has heard of this? Well if you haven’t and are curious the link follows but beware, it could have the side effect of diminishing your ice cream enjoyment. Squatty Potty. Bottom line is it is a new way to position yourself for elimination (yup, pooping) that has a tonne of benefits for movement (everyone can benefit from a stronger more stable squat), digestive health, and reduction of time spent in the loo. I don’t have one yet but it has been on my list forever and many people I trust in the yoga and movement world highly recommend. Oh, and if you are going out of country for any reason it will help you prepare for the bathrooms that are simply holes in the ground in some places.
- Add something you can think of here: I am still discovering and exploring ways to move more. If you have been doing the same after reading my sitting post a couple weeks back I would love to hear about the things you have found that have helped. Please comment and give everyone some ideas to work with. I know I could use some more and you bet other readers could too.
For those of you that are keen to drop body fat all this movement does get you fitter and leaner. I read in one article on sitting a researcher dropped 5 pounds in month where he simply opted to stand instead of sit in most cases(note there is a difference it what I am saying, you need to move, the solution isn’t just standing instead of sitting) Hopefully this gives you some things to ponder. As mentioned, I would love to hear how this is fitting into your life or why you think it couldn’t. I am continuing on my quest since it really is a on going project.
Oops before I forget…and I know I keep pushing it but it does need to be highlighted…can you see how the Philosophies of Wellness (POW) fit in here? If you need a reminder of them watch the video clip on my home page. Seriously I think a argument can be made that all the POW’s are incorporated here.
Happy day all !