get up


The realities and consequences of our sitting all day become obvious… yet overlooked… except to our bodies.

Actually, our bodies emerge as the brave soldiers here, now doing what they were never designed to do: SIT. Hour after day after week… too bad our IRA’s are not accumulating assets like this.

Sitting is sometimes compared to smoking. Is that legit? Well, yes and no. Yes, from the standpoint that the ultimate cost of sitting: obesity, problems associated with poor circulation, head, neck, shoulder and back problems, etc., will far exceed that of smoking. We have to sit, because that’s the nature of work today. From that perspective, sitting and smoking are vastly different.

We could blame technology for the gradual decline of our bodies. But nobody, certainly not our employers, will abandon technology this five minutes.

With that in mind, any time spent NOT SITTING helps. Think in terms of “movement moments.” The computer doesn’t need breaks, but your body does. Getting up and simply walking around a bit won’t remedy the situation when we still have six more hours of sitting today.

So yes, there must be a method to your movement. For starters, think in terms of random movement. Examples are: lightly shaking out your body, randomly moving your joints around, raising your arms over your head, and shifting your weight back and forth while standing. After a minute of this, you will experience an amazing phenomenon – your human instinct to stretch.

The human instinct to stretch is best exemplified by watching infants, toddlers, and pets when they first wake up. What do they do? They stretch. But it doesn’t look like yoga, does it? Or calisthenics. It’s more, well, organic, individualized and random – not likely repeated exactly the same way each time.

So stand up, move away from the desk, and look out the window which also gives your eyes some much needed range of motion. Start to lightly shake your body. You see, vibration is the key to fluidity. Fluidity is the opposite of rigidity – rigidity being the outcome of sitting.

Also, change your workstation from being static, i.e., sitting in the chair the same way all day, to doing some work standing up. Move the monitor position. Use voice software and generate copy while getting up and moving around. If you talk on the phone a lot, use a headset. This allows your body freedom of movement.

You can get movement even while still sitting. Grab any area of your desk or chair with one or both hands and while keeping them fixed in place, gently move the rest of your body. You can also reach behind your chair with one or both arms as a way to gently stretch.

When we teach these simple “movement moments,” people are amazed at how much activity their body can generate simply while sitting and/or standing at their desk. Consider setting a timer as a reminder to get up and move around, only now you’ll move with focus and a purpose. And if the timer goes off while you’re closing the biggest deal of the year or finishing the great American novel, well, I guess it can wait a little while. But not too long. One way or another, no matter how successful you are, however measured, you’ll appreciate having a pain-free functional body to enjoy that success.

Image: sitting, waiting, wishing... by Josh Semans and used under a Creative Commons license.
Will Nelson

Will Nelson

Will Nelson is a Buford resident and his company, teaches office workers successful strategies for mind and body. He can be reached at 678-900-0270 or [email protected]