So if sitting disease is “a thing” now (and it is) and you’re supposed to move more, how can you add movement into your everyday life if you’re stuck for time? Here’s how I did (with credit to Katy Bowman, Biomechanist and Director of Nutritious Movement, Washington, USA).
To be clear, adding these micro movements into your day isn’t just meant for those unable or unwilling or considered too “old” to do exercise. (That’s what I was trained to think too). It turns out that even those we consider to be “active” are generally not that much more active than the average couch potato (4% more active if they exercise for 1 hour a day out of 24 hours compared to zero hours of exercise for the average couch potato). The many health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle are relevant to anyone who spends the bulk of the day in a chair. That usually includes eating breakfast, commuting to work or school, sitting at work or school, eating lunch, commuting home, eating dinner, lounging on the sofa. And no, that one hour of intense exercise at the gym/pounding the pavements doesn’t compensate for the other 15 hours of sitting. Who knew, right?
You may not work from home and you might not be able to add all of these changes to your environment but hopefully it’ll get you thinking about ways that you can add more movement into your day. For more ideas, check out my Instagram page MovementMakeovers and my Facebook page with the same name MovementMakeovers. I also post ideas specifically for children and families on my other Facebook page Tech Wellness for Kids. And for even MORE ideas, you can see how other people around the world have added more movement into their day here .
And if you’re still stumped, ask me and I’ll get you moving (pun intended) in the right direction!
First port of call is the bathroom. The squatty potty (or several stacked telephone books/dictionaries) ensures I squat with all the benefits that that entails and the wedge at the sink ensures I stretch my calves while washing my hands. Every time I use the toilet. Every time I wash my hands. That’s multiple times a day and I don’t have to even think about it. The props are there anyway. It would be harder NOT to use them.
This cheap as chips IKEA table has multiple uses in my house. Here, I use it as a Japanese-style table to eat breakfast. The pillows make it more comfortable and I can reduce or increase the height depending on how my back is feeling/how lazy I’m feeling. Being able to get down to and up off the floor is an important life skill (literally). Find out why here.
The same table doubles up as a low laundry station that encourages me to get closer to the floor – again- and this time I’m using the cushions to adopt a different “sitting position“. Getting down to and up off the floor is involved again so more work for my muscles/joints as well as a welcome break from computer work.
I leave a half dome in front of every sink in the house. That way I’m stretching my calves every time I use the kitchen sink or wash my hands. To make your own half dome, get a cheap foam roller and cut it into half, along the length. Then cut each length in half, along the width. Voila! Four half domes for your house. You’re welcome : )
I usually climb the stairs 2/3 steps at a time (four if I’m feeling adventurous ; ). I vary which leg I lead with and how much each leg has to stretch. I know, it doesn’t get more rock ‘n roll than this.
The same IKEA table is being used here as a prop to turn a bog standard office chair into a (very, very cheap) version of a type of yoga chair. Resting the feet on the table means I can adopt various yoga-style positions while working at a desk. Plus I’m much less likely to slouch when I have a raised foot support.
I was able to use existing shelving as a stand-up desk solution. I take regular 20 minute (or more frequent if I’m tired) breaks from standing and use the laptop while kneeling on cushions too. I’ve thrown in a pebble mat to make it “interesting” for my feet; getting to the point of being able to stand barefoot on the mat took ages by the way!! Socks were my friends for a looong time.
I’m far from being able to do a chin-up but that doesn’t stop me from using a chin-up bar to hang/swing from whenever I pass this doorway or want a break from the computer. You don’t need a chin-up bar to work your upper body. All you need is a doorway. Check out doorway walk-throughs from Katy Bowman.
I have found that the more props I leave lying around, the more I will use them. Here are lots of options for sitting on the floor/close to the floor for at least some of the time while watching tv. Don’t expect to be able to watch an entire movie without the couch at first. Your body is used to outsourcing the work required to sit unsupported to the couch so build up time spent on the floor slowly and change position/prop often. What’s the best position for watching tv on the floor? The next one you take.
P.S. Having a dog or a cat means you’re also less likely to get to sit around for any period of time!
© Annette Cashell 2019