Last fall, I went to Europe and spent a week in France. I was excited to use my high school French and to speak a few phrases to the locals, but overall my French is pretty bad. My best friend told me about Duolingo and while I was in France. I diligently played with the app everyday trying to learn as many practical phrases as I could. I had dreams of practicing and playing on the app afterI returned home.
What ended up happening? I have since deleted the app and I have not spoken French since.
My French is still terrible if not a little worse.
Movement is like language ability. If you don’t use it, you lose it. When we are sedentary and stuck in office chairs for 9.5 hours a day (Average Canadian sitting time), our ability to move gets increasingly limited. Our movements become stiff and painful like a car that’s been sitting on the driveway for months and in desperate need of an oil change.
The research is showing that exercise alone does not offset this sedentary time. The analogy between my trip to France and movement illustrates this. Imagine a person who exercises intensely for a period of time a few days a week or at peak seasons like summer and January (New year’s resolutions month) as being akin to the person who only moves in specific environments and at times.
You can think of sedentary time as a kind of training all its own. If movement helps movement like speaking French improves French fluency, then sitting for hours and hours a day trains the body to sit. We become adapted to the sedentary lifestyle and the body discards unused muscles and slows its metabolism to match the energy demands that a sitting job requires.
The good news is research is showing that brief periodic disruptions of sitting time can be a powerful antidote to the sitting disease.
Get up and move as much as you can. Aim to disrupt sitting once every 20 minutes even if this is only to stand briefly for 60 seconds. You can still continue focusing on your work just let your heart receive the stimulation of a shifting moving body. Even if you need to remain seated you can wiggle and fidget your body, but this is not ideal..
The ideal vision would be to work in an environment where people had complete freedom of movement. The autonomy to choose for themselves what their body’s need based on what their body’s feel.
Actually, I have seen this in freedom to move with older colleagues I’ve worked with. During long two hour long staff meetings, these colleagues would naturally get up and stand at the back of the meeting to give themselves a break from sitting. They would excuse themselves because their backs and legs could not handle sitting for such a long time.
The mission of ThinkMOVE is to empower people with the freedom to move their bodies like my colleagues did but at an earlier point in their careers. This way they can experience the full benefits of moving throughout their day and enjoy the language of movement at the workplace.
You can try 5 days of ThinkMOVE for free HERE.