This has to be, hands down, the simplest and quickest way to “fix” your body, especially if you find yourself sitting a lot.
If you sit for long periods and find yourself feeling aches, pains and stiffness in your hips, back, knees or elsewhere, this can make a huge difference
So in the spirit of quickness – let’s jump right to it (video below):
1. Set a timer for 15, 20 or 30 minutes. As you sit, notice how your body feels (tight/loose, warm/cold, stiff/free, etc.)
2. As soon as the timer goes off, get up and walk around for 30 seconds. Make sure your arms can swing freely.
3. Return to your seat and go back to whatever you were doing. Notice the sensations in your body again and make note of them. Re-set the timer and the cycle.
That’s it! Give it a try for a couple of days and then leave a comment below to let me know what you notice.
If it seems too simple, I do know it’s backed up by some science. Which I won’t bore you with unless someone comments on this post asking for it.
I learned this method from my Tai Chi teacher, Bob Iden. Bob has an engineering background and a good eye for authentic scientific research. He told me he has another Tai Chi student who spends long days, working at a computer. She was having a lot of pain in her hips, but once she started doing this simple practice, her pain is dramatically lessened.
My work has changed somewhat in the past couple of years and I too was starting to notice more aches in my hips…and yep, this exercise really does feel like a quick reset to my hips.
Are longer practices, such as spending 15, 30 or 60 minutes (or more) doing things like qigong, tai chi, running, skiing, hiking, etc still worth doing. Absolutely. This “quick and dirty” exercise isn’t meant to replace those, but the reality is they take a lot of time and in the case of things like Tai Chi, can take years of learning to get good at it. Tai Chi is very worthwhile spending the time and energy to learn and practice, but it works on a different level than this “sit and walk” practice.
I think the key here to the success of this practice is how easy it is. Our body is meant to move and when we sit, we tend to sit either too still or with (unconscious) tension. Getting up, regularly, and moving around breaks the pattern of tension. You will probably tighten back up again, but since you will break the pattern again in 15 or so minutes, it doesn’t have as much of a negative impact than if you sit with tension for hours at a time.