03 October 2013

Walk the Talk


I've always been a fan of Ted Talks and their ability to get me thinking.

But, there was something about this idea that really made an impression on me. I'm sure you've heard it: sitting is the new smoking. I run for exercise, and this phrase has been thrown around the running community the past few months. Then, I opened this month's Vogue to find an article on the exact same subject. I'd put this thought on the backburner- I run, so that erases the damage from sitting, right? 

Wrong.

The more I read, the more I understood how bad sitting is for the body. Sitting disengages the core muscles. It leads to bad posture and lack of circulation. This all began to make sense as I thought about how refreshed I feel after my walk between classes or to and from campus. I spend more time than I like to admit at my desk in my dorm- it has everything within arms reach and is my place to get stuff done. But I would notice that sitting caused my legs and back to become numb, which I ever thought of as a huge deal until I realized how important the spine and those nerves in my back are to my health! Yeah, I had a bit of a wake-up call to say the least.   standing for 6 straight hours when I worked was tiring, but not unmanageable. So I began to think of how this could be applied to my daily life at school and look for ways that standing could be incorporated into my days. 

I walk to and from campus and class, so that gets a good 2+ miles in my day just getting around. But then I go and sit in classes for 50 minutes- not that bad since I get at least 10 minutes of walking between each sitting stint. The fresh air and little bit of exercise does wonders for a burnt-out brain. But then comes the hours of studying. So I went on a hunt for good place to study. Purdue is ahead of this standing craze, because there are numerous standing-level tables in the basement of my building! Woo! Of course, there are stools. Just push them aside. 

In my experiments with this new idea, I've been trying to study at the stand-up tables as much as possible. I get some weird looks from students, but that's beside the point. I've found that standing keeps me alert and focused for longer. I'm not as reliant on that steady stream of coffee like before. Also, if I feel like I need to take a study break, my immediate thought is to walk around and get some blood flowing... instead of staying put and watching YouTube (okay maybe I just turn my laptop around and walk while I watch a video or two). My legs have been more tired, but this standing hasn't hindered my regular exercise or routine. In fact, running on tired legs has made them stronger! I'm not sure how long this standing thing will last, but it's been a fun couple of days experimenting.

Talk the Walk; Walk the Talk