Welcome to Term 4, 2017! Just before the holidays we had so much fun on a group walk / move / tree climb / squat festival in Geelong. 90 minutes of movement and then a coffee. It doesn't get much better than that. Lots of breakthroughs were had taking our exercises out into the world. If you couldn't come along try and get to the next one, or if you can't wait book in for a private or small group movement coaching session (Ocean Grove or Geelong).
As we get ready to head off on another adventure let's figure out how much we are sitting in chairs right now, it's often much more than we think. Then we can set some goals for less sitting from now on. As Katy Bowman says in one of her latest podcasts "Don't Just Sit There!....but don't just stand there either (Podcast 86)." We'll talk more about that after you've done this survey:
How Much Time Do I Spend Sitting in Chairs?
- How much time do you spend sitting for meals (or a cup of tea, or imbibing of any description)?
- How much time do you spend sitting for entertainment or relaxation, or even being social (eg. TV, going to he movies, coffee or lunch with friends?)
- How much time do you spend sitting at your job?
- How much time do you spend sitting on the toilet (read more about squatty potty's and bathroom breaks as exercise opportunities here)
- How much time do you spend sitting in your car (commuting, general travel needs)?
- How much time do you spend sitting while you exercise? (This could be weight machines at the gym, bikes, rowing machines and more things I haven't thought of yet, ooh, what about kayaking?)
Now add that up. Think about how many hours a day you are awake and how many of those are spent in chairs. It can be a bit of an eye opener. And it the chair is NOT the enemy here, it's the amount of time we spend in it. The tissues of your body shape around what you do the most of, so if you've got the chair shape going most of the day, that's what you are carrying into everything else you do to.
As Katy says in her podcast: "Chairs are really prevalent not only in the work space but all the time. Just get out of your chair. Do something different. Even if you sit right back down again at least you got up. Like that’s one squat for you....I think the chair is .. sucking the movement potential out of your body...It’s not to say that you can’t rest but maybe rest in some other way. If you could change your chair relationship it would be huge for you."
So does that mean standing all day is the answer? No, and here is what she says about that:
"That’s not really movement. You know, at the end of the day, getting into a standing position once in just another sedentary position. So stand up, yes. And then, and then.... do something after you’ve stood up."
"Like what?" did I hear you say? Try this:
"Pay attention to where you’re carrying your weight on your feet. Is it only on one? Is it on two? Maybe put it between the two. Does it go forward? Does it go back? Can it go right forward left back? And you go the other way. ..standing is like a category. We think of standing as simply like only the soles of the feet are in contact but I could come up with.... 30 different things to be doing while you are just standing there that would make it so that you’re not just standing there....it’s a mindful thing. Don’t just stand up and then stop thinking about your movement for the day. Standing up is the point at which you start thinking about it."
THE CHAIR CHALLENGE
The amount of time we spend in chairs impacts how well we feel and how well we move. Here's a simple series that can release tension while laying some foundations for better overall movement.
Can you do it a minimum of once every day this term? If that sounds too easy, can you do one aspect of it every single time you get up from a chair? Prefer a hard copy? Handouts will also be available in classes.
You've got 3 exercises here. The squat up and down from the chair, the lunge style hip flexor release (seated or standing) and the back of leg release. Do 1 of each, do 2 rounds of each, do even 3 rounds of each. It won't take more than 5 minutes and you will feel the difference. If you've ever taken a class with me you'll know not to take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. Have a little walk around before the exercises and then straight after. Noticing the improved freedom in your movement will inspire you to do more.
With one little reminder though. It's never ever about force or being aggressive - be patient, be loving and listen to your body. Slow, steady and mindful gets the best results. Pummelling ourselves has tended to take us further into cycles of inflammation and pain.