Something in my body has been shifting a great deal in the past 7 months or so. Primarily, my work with the Tree of Life involves my sitting down, and spending lots of time on a computer. Additionally, I have this blog to update, and my personal computer work with emails and such, which are all sitting activities. Prior to the Tree of Life, I have never had an office job. In high school, I coached a youth swim team, during which I was always standing up, walking around the deck, or I was in the water giving stroke and technique demonstrations. In college, I worked at a raw food restaurant and was also always standing and walking around.
For a long time being here, for a good 2.5 years, however, my body seemed to be just fine with sitting. Although its vitality was compromised in some ways, as always happens with a lesser amount of activity, I never had an intolerance to sitting. In the last several months, and I can’t say exactly why, I all of a sudden have an extreme sensitivity to the number of hours I sit in a day and when I feel I’ve hit a limit, I pretty much can’t handle doing anything that requires sitting for the rest of the day. My body says, “Get that booty up and out and doing something!”
After a few hours sitting down focusing intensely, I feel this buildup of energy in my body and I have to go outside and rebound for 10 or 15 minutes (lucky for me, the Tree has a Bellicon rebounder, what we think is the most fun and bouncy rebounder, right outside the building). After this, I feel totally back in balance, energized, and ready to focus again. Usually, I also find that I have to go for at least an hour long walk or jog or hike after work to feel balanced. Although it’s rare now, I notice that if I skip this after-work exercise, my evening feels somewhat restless.
What intrigues me most about all this I can’t attribute the change to anything in particular. I can only guess at the possibility that my body has gotten to a level of health where it is simply is making its own demands on what it needs, and it craves movement. Sometimes it’s not very convenient to work these things into my day, but my body seems to be leaving me little choice.
Some other people at the Tree who work sitting down also experience the need to break to move their bodies. Some of them prefer to go out and sprint for 5 or 10 minutes then come back, or just go for a walk, some people do yoga or just simple stretches, some people go swim in the pool, and others like rebounding like I do. Some people walk or bike the few miles to work and that helps balance them. Sometimes, I like to keep it simple and get my movement in by lassoing javelina and scaling cacti with my bare hands. But let’s face it, not everyone is so adventurous.
There are plenty of studies and experiments you can google for that have been done correlating office jobs, exercise, sitting, computer and TV time, and health, so I’m not including them here.
Do you experience similar urges to move if you’ve been sitting for a certain period of time? What do you like to do most? How do you balance bodily idleness and movement?