Wednesday, 31 August 2016

More Natural Movement

It has been four months since I started making changes to add more natural movement to my day-to-day activities. I wrote about my efforts and reasons in a post titled "Healthy Sitting". 

I continue to sit on the floor at home when using my laptop. We have not gotten rid of any furniture, but I have a set up a couple areas at home (living room and gym) where floor sitting is comfortable and convenient. I love how floor sitting encourages me to stretch more often. I also love how standing up from the floor has gotten easier over time. Floor sitting is a great way to improve strength and flexibility with very little effort. My current favourite place to sit is in the gym where I can stretch and take regular movement breaks.
I have transitioned to wearing almost ALL flat shoes, and a few are flexible enough to qualify as minimal footwear. I want shoes to mimic barefoot to strengthen my feet over time. I bought a pair of FitKicks in basic black and grey at a store in Bayfield this summer. They are perfect minimal shoes to wear while walking the dog. Unfortunately they are not very durable. Already there are a couple small holes in the spandex from catching my toe on the sidewalk and from a poorly sewn edge on the elastic. Luckily my Nike water shoes are almost as minimal and much more durable. I bought ballet flats in both black and beige for a dressier look plus simple black canvas Dream Slip-Ons by AirWalks (not shown) for work. I am happy with my current small selection of shoes.
Flat, flexible sandals are proving more difficult to find, as are winter boots. There are cool options available on-line, but I refuse to buy anything I can't try on. I will keep looking until I find something suitable. In the meantime, I still have my old sandals for summer and a pair of old Bogs for winter boots.

I continue to sleep very comfortably without a pillow. This was an easy change for me as my pillow was relatively flat. We still sleep on a comfy pillow-top mattress. It seems silly to ditch a perfectly good mattress and bed frame just because a firmer mattress on the floor might be healthier. Besides my husband has not bought into the whole "floor-sitting, pillow-ditching, barefoot" lifestyle - so the bed stays.

Over the years, I have suffered through a few shoulder impingement episodes, so didn't think my shoulders would ever feel normal. To work on shoulder flexibility and strength, I have been stretching up to grab and hang from door frames and practicing handstands daily. These two simple exercises have helped improve my shoulder range of motion and function. There is absolutely no pain in my left shoulder and my right shoulder is almost totally pain-free. I am amazed at how much better I feel.

To further improve my muscle strength, I started lifting dumbbells about a month ago. I do two sets (10 reps each) of eight different moves three to four times a week. It takes about 20 minutes. I'm loving lifting weights and so glad we invested in a set of dumbbells for our gym. 

I also started working on my balance since I discovered I can't stand on one leg with my eyes closed. I've been practicing for a couple weeks now. I'm getting better, but it's still not easy. I also want to start practicing yoga. I have a book and a few DVD's. I tried some of the moves. There is so much to learn, it might be fun to join a class this winter. 

All these changes have been small, but effective. It doesn't take extra time to sit on the floor, sleep without a pillow or wear flat, flexible shoes. I am happy with my efforts to add more natural movement to my daily activities. I feel like I have made a lot of progress in just four months. 

If you're interested in making similar changes, check out Katy Bowman's website on Nutritious Movement where you will find lots of free information and resources to get started.

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1 comment:

  1. You are great at doing these things Beth, good for you.