In previous posts I have given you ideas and tips on how to move when you’re at the gym or outside doing a planned exercise routine. Also how to move more in your daily routine keeping you more active. But what about the times when you really are stuck behind a desk or simply not in a situation to move? Surely there are ways to help your body when you are sedentary?
Nothing beats actually moving, walking, running, jumping, climbing, lifting etc. all things that will help you more than anything else, but there are some subtle things you can do to stimulate the body and help keep you mobile.
You are probably reading this while sitting down? If not great you’re doing a good thing but if you are what can you do to help?
Sit on the floor.
Sitting on the floor changes the pressures on your body helping the lymphatic system to do its job. The lymphatic system is your body’s drainage system that needs movement to work, the contractions push fluid to where it needs to be. When you sit on a chair the pressure stays in pretty much the same area back of the legs and your bottom, perhaps your back. Sitting on the floor changes where these pressures are and as you need to constantly shift positions, legs crossed, one out, one in, leaning to one side the list is endless, keeps things moving. The changes in angles also strengthen your postural muscle in various planes of motion.
When the floor is not an option.
Change the surface or add something to the seat.
Switching your chair for another kind of seat can be an option, a stool means you have to sit up and a stability ball can be a great option but these are not always practical. An easier method is to sit with a massage ball or even just a tennis ball under your thigh or bottom; you will get an element of myofascial release but more importantly as it is uncomfortable it will make you fidget and move into different positions.
Standing is clearly more movement than sitting but it can still become a static position and any position can become detrimental if done too much. So if you are standing for any length of time try and be mindful of your stance. Do you support yourself on one leg more than the other? If so actively try and change it to the other side. If practical try and actively balance on one foot for a minute or two before changing. If you are working standing up try and change the height you are working at, change work surfaces in the kitchen or you could invest in an adjustable standing work desk.
Out and about:
You are moving when out and about in the street, at the shops or lucky enough to be taking a walk in the woods but try adding some extra movement into what you are doing. Now although pausing to squat, lunge or swinging from a lamppost would all be great it’s not always a good time to do it. However there are some more subtle things you can do to make your movement more varied and of benefit.
Balance along the kerb or walk along the lines in the pavement can add another dimension to your walking while not being obvious to passer byes. Another fun option (although more obvious) is to only walk on the squares or jump between them occasionally. Or jump over the patches in the path much like you did as a child.
If you are lucky enough to be out in the woods or parkland look for the opportunity to get off the beaten path and move. Jump over rocks or logs, hop between tree stumps or balance on one with one leg. Step up and over a park bench or walk on a wall; think like you did as a child!
All these small things may seem like nothing but just by adding one or two into your day can break the chronic monotony of movement in small ways. You just need to be more mindful of how you are sitting, standing or walking and try and change and vary how you are doing things in anyway you can.