Singer-songwriter and performance coach Adam James once asked me: “Cort, what would happen if the world stopped spinning?” This was his gentle way of reminding me that I also need to keep moving.
We’re not designed to sit still for hours on end. My daughter Gaia reminds me of this every day.
Yet, we have to undo A LOT of training to get back to the constant movement I see when I watch Gaia.
After years of sitting still at school and then work, we forget. We forget what it feels like to run with no place to go or jump rope and hopscotch for the sheer delight of it… or the exhilaration of dancing barefoot under the rain and sliding through the wet grass… chasing lightening bugs and mapping the stars.
And, I don’t know about you, but I want to remember. And…umm…I also want to keep jamming away on my computer, writing to you and doing other cool work in the world.
Luckily the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Here’s how to have your cake and eat it too:
1. Chisel while you work. Yup, you can be shaping up your body while at your computer.
This is how you do it: Get or make a computer stand (even a stack of books) that allows you to stand up and move while you work. Put those headphones on and groove to your favorite “zone” music. (I’ve got a mini dance party happening right now with Trevor Hall.) The key is to make it fun and practical. If you enjoy strength training, take that YouTube time to curl with the heaviest book near your desk (Designing a Home with Wood is what I use). Set your space up to favor movement. And don’t worry about what friends and colleagues think. Remind them that “sitting is the new smoking” and that, if they want to keep the pounds off, be happier and more productive, they can join you.*
2. Burst, Baby, Burst. Short “burst” activities are ideal for toning and strengthening your bod.
This is how you do it: Find the right burst activity for you — maybe 20 pushups or a few downward dogs or a quick dance party (Happy by Pharrell Williams always gets my booty a-shake). Then, and this is key, associate the burst (new activity) with an essential, well-established daily habit–like brushing your teeth (perfect time to add squats), or making the bed (ideal moment for a sun salute), or washing the dishes (great for hip rolling). This is a bit embarrassing, but in the spirit of full disclosure: every time I go to the loo, I do ten situps and ten pushups. This activity is now automatic for my body. I don’t have to think about it anymore: loo = workout time.
3. Take it outside. Nature calls. Seriously. A brisk walk or a little air break can reset your entire day.
This is how you do it: Build time every day to GO OUTSIDE. And get your move on while you’re out there. Ideally, it’ll just be you and nature and as much movement as possible. Nature nourishes and regenerates us, so even a few deep breaths while hugging a tree will do you wonders. (Yes, I’m advocating tree hugging.) And if you’re in a warm place (or not adverse to the cold) and you have the possibility to work outside, take your computer (or pen and paper for those stormy-brain sessions) with you into the grass and sun. (When possible, my work is always solar powered.)
When we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, movement is usually the first thing to go. But here’s the thing: Emotion is Energy in Motion. How does it feel to sit still for hours at a desk? Lousy. That’s how.
And the whole notion that we can just break it up with a 30-min or 1-hour workout is crazy.
We are designed for constant movement. Don’t believe me? Go watch some kids on a playground (hey, that could be your outside time).
At first these activities might feel foreign, or even forced. Stick with it! Soon you’ll look just as foolish and happy as everyone else who’s killing it in business and life.
Tell me: What one burst activity are you going to build into your schedule? Or what book are you gonna use for those bicep curls? Leave a comment. Share your practice. We need it!
*Remember Rollo May’s words, “The opposite of courage is not cowardice; it’s conformity.” So be courageous: share this advice with your friends and associates and let’s scrap the status quo together.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE