Have you heard? Sitting is the new smoking. Well, maybe not exactly. However, sitting does cause adverse health conditions.
For me, prolonged sitting causes weaker back muscles and painful headaches. It does not help that my posture gets worse the longer that I sit.
According to the Better Health Channel, sitting too long increases your risk of chronic health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Sitting too much also can be bad for our brain. Our bodies are made to move. We will stay healthier, more creative and happier with movement throughout our day.
Stanford researchers found that walking boosts creativity. They examined the creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. A person’s creative output increased by an average of 60% when walking.
Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, was known for his walking meetings for this exact reason. Creative ideas were born while he walked and thought.
Do we really need researchers to tell us this? Try it out yourself. When you feel stuck in your day, take a walk to fill your water cup or use the restroom. Creative solutions or answers to your questions will come to you when you remove yourself from your chair and move your body.
Do your brain another favor and leave all electronics behind. Give yourself uninterrupted thought time.
Every month when I prepare to write this article, I begin with a walk. My goal is to think about a topic to write. After a 15-minute walk, I feel refreshed and have a great start to the article. Could I have done this while sitting at my desk? Possibly; however, having nothing else to distract me on my walk, except my thoughts, is a benefit. My creativity kicks in, and I tend to complete the project quicker.
When I take a walk without a goal in mind, I am pleasantly surprised how abundantly my brain thinks of creative ideas. It was on a walk that I thought of unique Christmas gifts for my family. It was on a walk that I thought of starting a podcast. It was on a walk that I figured out where I left the mailbox key.
I did not begin the walk wanting to think of these topics. On the walk, I let my mind wander and think about anything.
Instead of being reactive when you experience health challenges or when you feel stuck in your creativity, be proactive, and schedule movement breaks into your day.
Try these ideas to keep your body moving:
Go for a 15-minute walk at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you feel tired or sleepy, walking is what your body really needs to refresh your brain.
Every hour, give yourself a stretch break. Stand, and use these simple exercises to tone your muscles.
Hold a washcloth in both hands, stretching your hands over your head as high as you can go. Stretch to the left and the right. Then, hold the cloth in both hands behind your back, stretching your hands behind your back as high as you can go. Bend at your waist, and let gravity pull your arms lower to the ground.
While on the phone, do calf raises until the conversation is finished. While standing, push through the balls of your feet and raise your heel until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower your feet back to the floor, and repeat. The longer the call, the more definition in your calf muscles.
5 While waiting for your lunch to warm, do side bends. Bend sideways to the left and right, repeat for a minute or two. This exercise will strengthen your core.
Whoever you are with throughout the day will enjoy this exercise adventure. Involve your spouse, the kids, your pet, your co-workers. Your body will thank you for this healthy movement. Your brain will recharge during this opportunity to creatively think.
Kathie Rotz is a leadership consultant and John Maxwell Certified Speaker, Trainer and Coach with Unity Consulting in Dubuque.