Monday, January 19, 2015

Listen to the body talk

            My body talks. Sometimes she shouts. Sometimes she jabbers. Sometimes whispers. Sometimes she purrs contentedly.
            I’m listening.
            This month I’m really listening. I’m half way through a “movement cleanse,” sponsored by the website, Liberated Body ( Brooke Thomas, who had movement problems of her own, has put together an eclectic collection of podcasts and other resources that deal with freeing movement or as she puts it “helping you more happily inhabit your body.”
            From time to time she sponsors “A Movement Cleanse.” It’s based on the method of food cleanses in which one removes food groups, and then adds them back one at a time to see what works.
I won’t give away her curriculum –at a dollar a day, the 30-day cleanse includes a workbook with weekly and daily activities, several few-minute videos on basic movements – standing, bending etc. and a closed Facebook community where participants can check in, share observations and resources, and ask questions. However, I will give a few hints.
 I was diligent weeks one and two, but it’s week 3, and I am off plan.
Week 3 includes and a two-day technology fast and an all-week furniture fast. The easiest level, the one I chose, suggests going couchless after 3 p.m.
Right now I am lounging on the couch, spine slumped, head forward, lap top on lap, typing. This is, in part, because I planned poorly, and am trying to also honor another New Year’s intention, to blog more. My solution; I’ll be off-couch after 3 and plan try to go computer free Tuesday after this is posted.
Why no furniture? I assume a part of the answer can be found it recent “Sitting Kills” headlines or as Forbes magazine put it “Sitting is the new smoking.” That article quotes Tom Rath, author of Eat, Move Sleep:  Sitting is the most underrated health-threat of modern time. Researchers found that sitting more than six hours in a day will increase your risk of an early death.”
Almost no one I know smokes any more. It’s not just bad for your health; it’s shameful. For those old enough to remember, it wasn’t always this way.
So maybe someday we’ll all be standing or squatting or on the floor. Schools will have backless and/or bouncy ball chairs and floor cushions. For those who now choose furniture-free living or less-furniture living, the thinking is floor sitting makes you move. First it’s harder to slump. Second, it makes most squirmy enough that so that every five minutes or so one readjusts, and thus moves  -- whether consciously, or not. Also suggested are standing desks, Japanese-style dining as well as other non-sitting accommodations.
The first evening I spent on the floor, my dog, Riley, joined me sprawling leisurely.  But soon, he decided he preferred the couch. His curled-up posture doesn’t seem to change from floor to couch and because he’s a quadruped, his head aligns with his spine.
 Nevertheless, I wonder what does Riley know that I don’t?


  1. I think my dog has better posture than I do. Perhaps I should stand while typing. I try to limit my sitting time per day. Hmm

  2. It's hard to limit when one loves reading and writing, but fortunately I also love movement-- swimming, walking and yoga. So maybe they will balance each other out.

  3. My body is very angry that it has to sit at a desk all day. Yoga helps, but I've seriously considered a standing desk.

    1. I could send you links to a few if you wanted. I used to have to sit all day for years -- but I was always very fidgety and I walked every day at noon, so I think that helped.

  4. I saw an illustration in a magazine of all the health issues associated with sitting. Some were obvious, like weak back muscles but then they listed diabetes, heart disease, ….. I have been trying to get my company to supply me with a desk that you can adjust to be in a standing position since my job is all by phone and computer so I can be sitting for more than 6 hours….

    1. And then on top of that you are a reader -- so so much of our leisure is also spent sitting or lounging with a book. It's hard to fight the sofa.