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  • Writer's pictureDr Angus Tallini

Live to Move and Move to Live

So here’s a challenge for you: can you reset your normal state from sitting to moving?

Particularly in the last one to two hundred years, we have tended to treat sitting down as the baseline state for our bodies, without really questioning it. As our minds dominate our attention, we tend to prefer to sit in order to focus on cognitive activities such as reading, writing, or using screens. This tendency has accelerated in recent years as we focus more on handheld devices or computers, both for work and leisure.

What if you turn that assumption upside down? What if, instead of sitting for the majority of your waking hours, you switch to moving for this time? What if you bring your body back into your attention as well as your mind?

Here’s the challenge: to move for 12 hours in 24. It sounds excessive, compulsive and impossible, but it is achievable!

The first big change you might need is a standing desk. Friends and colleagues  eye roll when they hear me wax lyrical about the joys of standing up to work at a screen or take telephone calls, but I cannot underestimate how different I feel in the two years so far that I have changed to this type of desk. It is a foundation stone for being able to be more active at other times of the day as well, because rather than feeling more tired, your body feels readier and more energised to take on other types of activity. Your concentration improves, your back feels straighter and more relaxed, and your neck and head feel free.

So here’s an example of how your working day might go:

  • Wake up and step outside to watch the morning sky

  • Yoga stretches and mindfulness meditation

  • Sit for breakfast (SITTING 30 minutes)

  • Sit to commute to work (SITTING 30 minutes)

  • Stand at desk at work, gentle movements, steps, paces with Bluetooth headset when not actively needing to look at the screen

  • Walk or run or cycle outdoors in your lunch break

  • Sit to eat lunch (SITTING 30 minutes)

  • Return to stand at desk for work

  • Sit to commute back home (SITTING 30 minutes)

  • Sit to eat dinner (SITTING 30 minutes)

  • Wash up and other domestic tasks

  • Gentle walk after dinner

  • Sit to relax infront of a book or the TV (SITTING 60 minutes)

  • Sleep 7-8 hours

Note I have highlighted any SITTING time as the exception, amounting to 3 hours 30 minutes across the whole waking day (which typically lasts 16-17 hours.)  This means that the rest of the time, you are standing, gently moving or exercising for 16 minus 3.5, equalling 12.5 hours.

What sounds like an impossible proportion of time moving can be broken down in this way to a manageable level.  

Thinking, reading, conducting meetings or conversations, or driving creativity while standing or gently moving increases your concentration especially through the previous mid-morning or  mid-afternoon slump of a sedentary day. What you had assumed to be normal levels of tiredness or distraction are transformed into productivity and focus because the body is more aligned with itself and able to support the mind to do its job better as a result. Moving becomes the new normal. Your energy levels, supported by good nutritional and fluid intake, as well as better sleep because of this level of activity, improve day on day.



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