Movement as Medicine

Have you considered daily physical movement as a form of natural medicine – an antidepressant, a dose of Tylenol or a herbal supplement?

Much of our day to day activities forces us to be in sedentary enclosures, say a desk or a car, which greatly inhibits the movement of our bodies. As human beings who have evolved from a physically active, hunting and gathering existence, it is challenging for the mind and body to adapt to the dramatic changes of modern living.

To give you a reality check, the average person sits 13 hours a day, which includes commuting to and from work, sitting at a desk, eating your meals, watching television, reading a book, and checking social media (see our blog on social media). We also sleep roughly 8 hours a day. That sums up to 21 hours of being stationary.

 In a 2015 report by Annals of Internal Medicine, a correlation was found between prolonged sitting with a higher risk in dying - even among people who exercise regularly. The potential causes could include obesity, heart disease, diabetes, joint/back issues, chronic body pain, anxiety and depression - just to name a few. In short, sitting is literally killing us!

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 Sun salutations and swinging a kettlebell certainly helps, but it hardly compensates for the vast amount of time dedicated to being still (and I don’t mean the Zen meditative kind.) Given the alarming differential of movement to sitting, a radical change is required.

 Katy Bowman, a biomechanical movement specialist, is a pioneer in engineering lifestyles that view movement as nutrition for the body. Some simple, yet revolutionary tactics she deploys to combat a traditionally sedentary environment include:

 -           Using low tables and floors instead of sitting in couches and chairs

-           Using multiple workstations that allow for a variety of ways to sit and stand

-           Being outdoors or in the woods for family time 

-           Walking wherever she goes, or parking her car a distance away and walking the rest

 Extracted from her website (https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/a-day-in-the-life/)

 These recommendations may seem obvious, impractical or even ridiculous. However, the mission to convert from solving health problems with a pill to leveraging our environment to support our well-being will demand a degree of rebelliousness, creativity and courage. This is yoga in action. 

 So if you want to move your mind in a different direction, then begin by acting outside the box. Here are some more suggestions to get you started: 

 -      Ask your co-worker to go for a walk as you discuss your next client meeting. 

-      Suggest to your boss to include a yoga pass as a part of your benefits package. 

-      Lead the way after dinner to visit the neighbourhood park with your family. 

 At the end of the day, bring more physicality and fun into you life - how you decide to do this is entirely up to you!