What…How can it be 2016 already?! Well it is a new year. The New Year provides a great time to take on challenges, to quit doing things, and/or to start doing new things. I want you to stop sitting so much. Seriously, getting up from your chair will be so good for you. Let’s help get your mind in the right perspective.
I came across a great quote on the process of making art with regards to the difference of stopping and quitting with the latter being intentional. I want you to be intentional.
“In the normal artistic cycle this just tells you that you’ve come full circle, back to that point where you need to begin cultivating the next new idea. But in artistic death it marks the last thing that happens: you play out an idea, it stops working, you put the brush down…and thirty years later you confide to someone over coffee that, well, yes, you had wanted to paint when you were much younger. Quitting is fundamentally different from stopping. The latter happens all the time. Quitting happens once. Quitting means not starting again—and art is all about starting again.”
~David Bayles and Ted Orland from Art & Fear
I am sure you are able to think of many applications for intentionally quitting. Like I tipped off earlier, I want you to plan to quit sitting so much. The simple change of spending more time standing or walking will do wonders for your health.
Let’s go back a few years
The idea for this came to me this morning while I was (ironically) sitting. My lower back was aching, but it is just the sight of pain as in it is the point at which my body is telling me there is a problem. Really my issue is motor amnesia in my glutes and hips from sitting on them and asking them to not engage. My job requires me to spend more time at a desk than I wish.
So I have to be intentional about getting up and moving. You should be, too.
Sitting is the new smoking
Why should you care about sitting all day?
You need to go back a few years to a great article over on Huffington Post (originally posted on the Harvard Business Review) titled “Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation” by Nilofer Merchant.
Yes, brief periods of sitting provide time for the body to recover from physical stress or mental stress (think exercise or an argument). However, sitting causes problems for us because we spend most of our waking time in a chair of some form.
My guess is that you are probably reading this post while you are sitting.
The thing is your body craves movement. Your circulatory system will appreciate the help from movement to circulate your blood properly. Your lymph system will appreciate the help to rid your body of waste thanks to movement.
Here are some of the things prolonged sitting does to the body:
- Slows down your metabolism
- Puts extra pressure on your spine (and can cause lower back pain)
- Reduces circulation
- Impairs brain function
- Increases your risk for developing diabetes and heart disease
This week’s challenge
The New Year is all about setting goals, but that doesn’t need to be doing more (unless it is walking, you should walk more), it’s about doing what’s right for you. I want you to start at your current level (which may not be walking meetings as an example from Nilofer’s article).
So for the sake of setting goals, this week’s challenge is to NOT sit for more than 30 minutes at a time.
How to do it
Use a timer on your phone and set it for 30 minutes. Then when the timer goes off, get up, stretch, and move around.
Need help on how to stretch at work?
7 Office Stretching Exercises to Get Energized at Work!
To use a quote from Nilofer’s article:
“My goal is to be someone who socializes the idea that physical activity matters, and that we each matter enough to take care of our health.”
I want you to join me in a movement revolution and all you have to do is get up and walk around. Will you do it?
Be the change in your social circle that gets your friends moving.
Walking with you in spirit,