Oh, ya know, I’m just saying hi with a little flex and RingBandits on my wrist and thumbs up from yesterday’s sunburn – that’s right – SUNBURN! – from mowing the lawn! I kinda can’t believe it! We’ve been having great weather this week, and while there’s some rain in the weekend forecast (and, let’s be honest, probably snow next week), everyone in Calgary is soaking it up right now. I took time in between clients on a lighter day to take care of our lawn, which has been growing like crazy and is so green in the front! It takes quite a while when it’s long because we only own an old push mower, so I knew that the sunshine and enough time to commit to it meant I could put a dent in it. So I popped a podcast on, brought my water bottle with me out there, and got to work, one little section at a time.
I love this kind of activity partly because it reminds me of my mom, who always loved (and still does) physical labor and working hard outside with her body. But lately I’ve been wanting to view more of life like movement and not just breaking it down into workouts and non-workouts. I wrote about this recently when I referenced Katy Bowman’s concept of “nutritious movement” here.
I was leaning more towards this focus before I got pregnant, but now I’m enjoying this concept even more. While I’m intentional to keep working on pull ups, push ups (now on an incline because they aren’t feeling quite as strong in my core these days) and keeping what muscle I can during this pregnancy, the nicer weather and desire to simply keep my body moving has been driving more of my thoughts lately, and here’s why I think you should consider it too.
- We sit too much. Many of you have probably heard that “Sitting is the new smoking” – a bold claim, to be sure. But research shows that people who workout 3 days a week still sit too much – the active CrossFit-ters, spin-devotees, and runners likely still commute to work in a car, sit at their day job for most of the time, and sit on the couch after work, tired from a full day (including a tough workout!). A Mayo clinic study “compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment with those who logged more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with greater screen time had:A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause
About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack” (source). The kicker? “What’s more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk.The solution seems to be less sitting and more moving overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance or think about ways to walk while you work” (source).
So…what can you do about it?
- Pace your office or house while on a phone call at work.
- Commit to a morning or evening (pre- or post-work) leisure walk – start with 15 minutes a day, and I BET you’ll like it so much that you’ll slowly start adding time! You can get a lot of extra steps in with just a few extra minutes of walking in your day.
- Meet a friend for a walking coffee date instead of a sitting one!
- Make life a little harder. Yep! Choose not to use your car if you can walk to your location and get a good backpack or sturdy bags to carry groceries instead for some extra strength work. Get a push mower! Yeah, you gotta stay on top of it, but at the same time you get SO MUCH extra movement out of a necessity like mowing your lawn! (I have vowed to never own a gas-powered one, but then again we also don’t have a big lawn.) 😉 Ask yourself: How can you make life a little less convenient and a little more movement-based as a result?
- As a result of the sitting, we have tight hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings which can present themselves in the lower back. And, if you’re pregnant like me and your body is shifting around, or you have injuries, sitting is one of the worst things for our bodies.
So…what can you do about it?
- Make movement, mobility work, and flexibility priorities. Buy a foam roller (they aren’t too expensive!) to roll out and hit trouble spots like your shoulders/upper back and glutes, stretch daily or at least a few times a week (preaching this one to myself!) and stay consistent with your movement in and outside the gym.
- See a chiropractor. My neighbor and friend is also my chiropractor, and we were recently chatting about how we as humans tend to take care of things when there’s an issue – we’re much more reactive than proactive in most cases. Why not visit a chiropractor or get a massage BEFORE you’re feeling the effects of sitting? An assessment can always provide you with feedback, and if you live in the Calgary area, I can recommend a great one. 😉
- Be intentional about your movements in the gym. Focus on those trouble areas like learning how to engage your back without lighting up your shoulders/traps, actively fire your glutes and make sure you’re not only training your quads, and keep your body moving!
You better believe I’m still doing gym workouts! But I’m making them shorter and keeping my pace up OR focusing on upper body strength/core stability. Here’s a quick 20 minute burner you can try!
So… NOT ONLY in the gym:
…but also in daily life, moving around your house and outside on walks on bike rides and gardening:
Let’s stay consistent and active and keep encouraging fitness on the daily in our lives!
Product links coming atcha here, because I’ve been getting a lot of compliments in the gym and love great companies whom I can get behind! Featured in this post: New Balance Canada‘s new women’s line available at SportChek, which I really encourage you check out. I’m currently LOVING my New Balance Minimus shoes for walking and gym workouts alike, and I often wear the supportive – and flashy – pulse bra pictured above. Even though they’re currently sitting a bit under my belly, I still love my 2XU tights for compression and performance.
So, grab some quality gear and go USE it! Outside, inside, on a mountain, on a trail, while stretching, on a conference call, while cooking at home, and go live well & be well.