Sitting is the New Smoking
We all know sitting is the new smoking. We each spend a lot of time on weekly live calls, imbibing curriculum through audio and video, cracking open books, tackling additional homework, connecting with accountability partners and mentors, not to mention the additional time investing in the details of our pilot programs and designing our own business. Given all that, there’s likely been some quality time spent sitting.
The pursuit of becoming a Yoga Health Coach (YHC) requires you to have a good computer, a phone, and internet access. It doesn’t mean you need to own a desk, one of those leather swivel chairs, have a fancy home office, or even hang a shingle in a rentable space in town. The tools for the work are minimal.
If you are anything like me, you’ve found yourself spending hours sitting in front of your computer or on your phone, engaged in the experiential and educational pursuit of learning. With everything I have learned from my years of studying and teaching yoga I have found that once I launch into a new educational pursuit I still tend to fall back into the habits from my time in school: sitting to learn. It’s true even in the best yoga trainings I’ve ever taken. There is a lot of sitting.
We know that movement matters, wherever and however we work, whether we spend the day in an office, a lab, a classroom, a yoga studio, or in our living room. Many of us are yoga teachers and wellness professionals, fields where movement is an integral part our daily life.
I worked an 8am to 5pm office job for almost 20 years at a liberal arts college. For the first 15 years, I thought it was enough to workout before heading into the office, walk or bike to work, or take a yoga class midday or after work. The truth is that my body, mind, and focus habits got entrained to sit.
Opportunities to Move
I did my best to create opportunities for movement, but most days I knew that I needed more. My office was on the edge of a college campus, so I walked to and from meetings every day and made a point to deliver mail and paperwork to other offices by hand to help me get out and about more often. My last three years, I prioritized walking meetings, wore a fitbit, moved my office to the second floor to work the steps, bought a rebounder, which I placed it in my office for hourly jump breaks (at the risk of being judged my colleagues). I still found myself sitting for hours at a time.
I started working from home and was able to change EVERYTHING about my day and be fully in charge. First, I created my “Shakti Shed” home office by renovating a 10’x10’ tool shed I set up a standup desk and pulled in a chair from the high bar in the kitchen as a back up from standing. I found I had to retrain myself to move throughout the day. I had no stairs, no campus to walk across, no meetings to walk to, I was sitting.
When I started YHC, I had a desk job and had the habit of sitting for the LIVE calls so I could focus, engage, and take notes. I was sitting to watch the weekly videos and again capture highlights and notes, and I was sitting to work on my marketing campaigns, website content, and social media posts for my business. In June 2016, I took on a workstudy position for YHC as the Coaching Team Leader. This revved up the momentum of my participation behind the scenes and added more meetings to my weekly rhythm.
I was totally into it, but all of a sudden I was participating in more meetings and moving even LESS.
Uh Oh. Now what?
I Need a Dynamic Workstation
So, I reached out on Facebook to find an old treadmill, lifted my standing desk a few more inches, charged up my 2014 fitbit, reorganized the furniture, bought a nice rug, and created an open space to work from the floor. I wanted various options for working that would leave me moving more and in dynamic and various positions throughout the day.
I put a timer on my phone to remind me to jump on the rebounder in my garage. I also started varying my activities during my accountability and YHC LIVE calls;
- I walk outside if the weather permits,
- put my legs up the wall,
- do restorative poses,
- roll around a foam roller,
- do a few bicep curls with the 2# weights on my bookshelf,
- or walk on my treadmill.
When the weather is nice, I bust a few moves on my flagstone patio in between appointments. Most Business Team and Coaching Team meetings, I’m either squatting on the floor, walking on the treadmill, or in a rare moment you’ll find me sitting on a chair with my legs folded under me.
Tips to Moving Dynamically While you Work
- Design dynamic workstations in your space.
- Use kaizen to take it step by step. Your body and your mind need trained to work in dynamic positions.
- Determine the calls, projects, meetings you can be walking, moving, or have your legs up the wall and still be SUPER engaged and present.
- When working within a long strategic block, set a timer to remind you to move.
- Change positions every 25-30 minutes.
- Schedule a buffer to move between meetings, calls, and blocks of time.
- Track your steps.
The Rewards of Moving Dynamically
- Increased mobility.
- Burn calories while you blog.
- Make your DNA happy with more movement.
- Reduce edema and swelling in the legs with movement.
- Accomplish more in less time.
- Sleep like a baby.
This is still an experiment for me and will likely continue to be for the duration, but so far I don’t feel as stiff at the end of a long work day, have fewer neck issues, and I am tired at the end of the day. Many days, I am even sore from walking. Try it, and see how it works. I’ve been super inspired by the daily movement ideas from Cate, of course, and the practices and lifestyle of Katy Bowman from Nutritious Movement. Check out her stuff. It will likely inspire you to trade in your swivel chair for a treadmill.