Bodies weren’t made to sit all day at work, then sit all night at home. But there are solutions...
Josh Axe, founder of www.DrAxe.com, one of the most widely viewed health sites on the web, walks three times a day, for 20 min. Add to that his belief that he is guided by a benevolent God - and his walks are a time for him to be more receptive that inner Guiding Intuition. Which I know we all have.
Josh Axe makes several million $ a year, and his main strategy is to give a ton of value for free.
Chris Kresser, a well respected wellness blogger and functional medicine trainer, found that his back pain went mostly away when he got a standing desk. Then he put a treadmill under his standing desk, and his back pain went away completely.
Personally, I have experimented with sometimes sitting and sometimes standing, and this works for me. I put my laptop on top of a high chest of drawers, and it’s my standing desk.
We Learn To Sit But this really begins in school. We take children who would naturally be running and playing, and learning very rapidly through play, and we make them sit in an intellectual mode, for long hours.
Which for a child is very unnatural. Not just the intellectuality, but the sitting too.
And some pull it off well. Others, not so much, and they may even get the label “ADD” or “ADHD”. And then maybe some Ritalin. Or more lately, CBD, a better choice but still just a partial solution.
So we learn to sit. And we lose that ability to flow, that vitality. But I think we can get it back.
Here’s what I recommend:
Walking has been called a miracle of engineering. Not only does it help your digestion as you engage the rhythm of left leg, right leg, left leg… but walking also helps left and right brain work together more, since you have to coordinate left and right body to do it.
Your breathing also takes on a more regular rhythm, in sync with the legs and arms, and all together you have an activity that is extremely, calming, grounding, and opens you to insights and intuition as your mind and thoughts begin to slow and flow together more. Many of the greatest writers and philosophers well known for their long daily walks.
Many of them have even written about how 20 min was not enough, they found that if they walked for 40 min, or 1 hour, they would get the most insight and benefits. Personally, I find at about 17 min is when my system relaxes and grounds. So the next 20 min I will begin to see the world through peace again, and then the 20 min after that is probably when a clear perspective on my life really begins to happen.
But I don't have to push myself to walk. For me it's medicine. When my anxiety gets to be too much, I walk. Or have I been sitting for hours? Then I stretch and walk. And for me it works.
Tips For Better Walks
Now for some tips to enhance your walks, try one or two:
Walk up a hill. It is very different. It takes more effort, you pump through your legs and breathe more deeply, so it's more oxygenating for the brain, and much more grounding.
Walk in a quiet or natural area. Take a side street or walk to the park and back. Nature especially does not stimulate the mind to thinking. You aim is a quiet mind.
Wear headphones and listen to soothing music with no vocals - drown out noise.
Breathe consciously and a little more deeply for a while. Quiets the mind.
Focus your mind in the direction you want your life to go. Think about your desired future and how you will make it happen, instead of allowing your mind to reflect on the past or to worry about the future.
You can even do all of these at once.
I sometimes find a decision to be impossible to figure out while I am sitting. But once I get walking, I relax, I oxygenate, I begin to breathe deeply again, and I find that insights come in as my mind opens us. I walk, solutions appear, and things work out.
In addition to walks, other breaks from sitting are:: chi gong, yoga, lifting some weights, or even resistance bands, which are especially great for traveling.
Chi gong especially is the art of standing, and building vitality and power in that practice.
I once did chi gong consistently for 2 mo’s (standing postures), and it was life changing for me. I got my digestion back, my vitality increased and anxiety was way reduced. I slept better, had way more energy, and my girlfriend really noticed.
I learned that chi gong is very powerful, and chi gong is essentially Standing With Attention.
But there is also a deeper truth here: Standing makes us stronger, more courageous. We say, “What do you stand for?” And “Don’t take it lying down”, and "Put your foot down", and "Make your stand".
Clearly there is something to all this standing business... and when we are sitting, we aren't standing.
So: remember to take breaks, walk around your apartment if you have to, but especially, if you can, get some fresh air, take a long walk now and then, maybe do some yoga or chi gong, and follow in the footsteps of the great philosophers and thinkers who came before you.... by sitting less.
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