We are designed to move. Over the course of our evolution we have adapted and evolved to become these amazing machines of movement capable of extraordinary feats. That evolutionary process did not account for us sitting at a desk in the same position for 8+ hours every day or staring down into a screen while we walk along or even needing a device to tell us to how many steps to walk.
Dr. James Levine of the Mayo-clinic Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative goes as far to say that “We are sitting ourselves to death”. The effects of long term sitting are increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and the all the other obvious orthopaedic problems. More worryingly these negative effects are not reversible through exercise. If you go to the gym every day then sit at a desk for 8 hours, you are still considered sedentary.
The first thing we should look to be doing is making sure we move as much as possible throughout the day. Walk whenever possible, don’t sit for longer than 20 minutes at a time and build the postural muscles so that when we do sit we limit the detrimental effects as much as possible.
After we have started our day with the stillness of meditation, we should then do some gentle movement, Tai Chi or Chi Kung are excellent for this. Both of these practices are considered moving meditation so they are a perfect link from the stillness we have just created from seated meditation, and also by learning how to be calm and still while moving we gain the ability to use this state throughout the rest of our day whatever we are doing. The gentle movements open and close all our joints, massage the internal organs, move the energy around our body and gently work the postural muscles.
As with meditation these practices have been proven to help with all sorts of health issues, there are even different Chi Kung sets for specific health conditions, different martial abilities or different therapeutic effects including combatting the problems we face by sitting for prolonged periods.
The second aspect of movement is exercise, “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical exercise save it and preserve it” – Plato. We need to move ourselves in as many ways as possible throughout the day. Very few people have a genuine reason not to exercise in some way or another. With all the options available to us these days we can all find something we enjoy, be that going to the gym, running, dance class, yoga, martial arts or walking; whatever it is just find something. Why not find several things. The more opportunities you have to exercise, the more chance you’ll have of doing it. When you find the things you enjoy you will look forward to working out and it will become a part of your life, not an addition.
Jez Stephenson, Head Coach – JPDV: [email protected]
If you would like some advice on Chi Kung or if you are struggling to find or stick to the right exercise plan then please get in touch. We can arrange a free 15-minute discovery call to help you get going.
If you liked this content then I have recently published an ebook from which this blog was taken called ‘Elements of Balance’. Send me an email if you’d like a copy.