You can be an RE Ninja - stealthily waging a war against immobility without observing the strict rules of the Exercise Samurai. You know the Exercise Samurai*. They have to go to the gym five times a week. They have to wake up at 5 am and lace up their running shoes to get a run in before work. You can do Restorative Exercise™ all day long (and without anyone noticing what you're doing). RE allows for the covert infiltration of movement into any lifestyle.
*You may be an Exercise Samurai yourself. That just means that you get to be like a double agent! Exercise Samurai and RE Ninja in ONE!!
How do I begin my Restorative Exercise™ Ninja apprenticeship, you ask?
Let the training begin!
We have to sit when we drive. We may have to sit when we are work. I'll concede those two things (though creating a workstation that allows for some standing during the day is a GREAT way to be a RE Ninja).
Who is making you sit on the couch? Who is making you sit at the table for dinner? Shun the furniture whenever possible and get down on your floor! It is the best piece of exercise equipment you have. I wrote a whole blog post about it. Be a FLOOR NINJA!
Two - when you have to sit - sit on your SIT BONES!
They carry that moniker for a reason. Use them as your body intended. Not sure where your sit bones are? Move yourself to the edge of your chair and untuck your pelvis. The bones that hit the chair are your sit bones. Most of our furniture forces us into a tucked position where we are actually sitting on our sacrum (that's not good for anything). Fight the furniture! Avoid it whenever possible, and when you can't - try using your muscles and bones to hold you up!
Three - anytime you are standing - do it with the outside edges of your feet straight!
Do this with your feet about pelvis width apart. These are the first objective alignment markers that you learn in RE. These points are the foundation of proper alignment and begin the war on joint deterioration.
Four - keep your weight in your heels and let your quads (those awesome thigh muscles in front of you) relax! They're doing too much work. How do you know if you've let them go? See if you can dance your knee caps up and down. Can't do it standing up? This is not uncommon. Try this: lean all of your weight against a wall with your legs straight out in front of you. Then see if you can get those knee caps lifting and lowering. Once you get the gist of it leaning on the wall, try it standing up with your weight in your heels. Hint: if you have your knees bent, it isn't going to work. This is going to help everything from your plantar fascia all the way up to your neck (turns out Dem Bones really are all connected).
These small four changes will make a big difference. The catch is: they all require mindfulness. You probably don't sit on your sit bones, stand with the outside edges of your feet straight, use your floor in lieu of your furniture, or pay attention to the chronic tension that you have in your quads.
In order to begin to make those changes you have to start with the MIND. That is the greatest challenge. You have to become aware of what your body is doing now in order to make these changes. The physical stuff is easy in comparison!
Like any Martial Arts Master, an RE Ninja must conquer the mind as well as the body.
Here is my challenge:
Let's say that you're awake 16 hours a day. Set an alarm and take an 8 minute movement break every hour. You don't even have to stop working. You can brainstorm on the move, take a phone call, take a walk to the water cooler, do anything! If you're in a chair when your alarm goes off get OUT OF IT for 8 minutes! If you do this, you will have added more than two hours of movement to your day. TWO HOURS. That is nearly 15 hours a week of movement. Mind blown, Restorative Exercise™ Ninja! You just got three times more movement than that guy who gets up at 5 and goes to the gym for an hour every day before work and then spends the rest of his day sitting at his desk. And yes... all of that movement counts. That's the point.
Take the challenge!
Begin your Restorative Exercise™ Ninja apprenticeship NOW!