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 to that inner guiding intuition.
Chris Kresser, a well respected 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.
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.
And some can do it. Others, not so much, and they may even get the label “ADD” or “ADHD”. And then maybe some Ritalin. (More recently, some children are being given CBD, a much gentler way to calm mood swings, anxiety and restlessness.)
So in school we learn to sit. We learn to inhibit our natural flow, and I bet that many of us lose a certain amount of vitality through that process. But I think we can get it back.
Here’s what I recommend:
Walking has been called a miracle of engineering. It helps 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 creates an activity that is extremely calming, and opens you to insights and intuition as your mind and thoughts begin to flow together more.
Many of the greatest writers and philosophers were 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 an hour, they would get the most insight and benefits. Personally, I find at about 20 min is when my system relaxes and grounds, and so the real benefits clarity just begins then, and the much greater clarity probably doesn't come until - yes, near an hour or so.
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. Also called "hiking"!
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.
Wear headphones and listen to soothing music with no vocals.
Breathe consciously and a little more deeply for a while.
Focus your mind in the direction you want your life to go.
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 up. I walk, and solutions appear.
In addition to walks, other breaks from sitting are: chi gong, yoga, lifting some weights, or even resistance bands, which are 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, and it was life changing for me. I got my digestion back, my vitality increased and anxiety was way reduced. I slept better, had 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?”, "Make your stand", and "Put your foot down".
So there might be something to all this standing business.
So remember to take breaks, walk around your apartment if you have to, but especially: take a long walk now and then, and follow in the footsteps of the great philosophers and thinkers who came before you.