Bob is in the middle of a four-month consulting contract with Borden Foods. As we develop our coaching practice, this contract provides valuable exposure, contacts, and income. It also provides limited opportunities for a basic human need: movement. The lifestyle is extremely sedentary: sit at a desk and go to meetings for 40 to 50 hours a week. Sound familiar? It’s the normal routine for millions of people in the developed world.
It’s ironic that “progress” and “development” strip away opportunities for movement. Back in school we learned that movement defined the boundary between plants and animals. Plants could not move on their own, while animals could. Plants were the sedentary ones, sitting for years, even centuries, in the same place. Animals were the mobile ones, going from place to place at will. So we marvel at the Great Sequoias: behemoth, massive, and stationary.
Those attributes that give the Great Sequoias their beauty and permanence go together. Behemoth and massive depend upon stationary. Can you imagine trying to move a Great Sequoia? Not easily. It works the same way for animals. The more stationary we are the more behemoth and massive we become. As development provides various time and laborsaving conveniences, we move less and less. We shop instead of farm, ride instead of walk, and click instead of rise. You get the idea.
It’s no wonder that more than 55% of all Americans are now estimated to be either overweight or obese. We have become the most developed, and the most stationary, civilization of all time. We’ve also become the most depressed. There’s a definite, proven connection. The less people move their bodies the more weight they gain and the more depressed they feel. It’s that simple.
Here’s a LifeTrek Provision for the week: figure out ways to move your body that can become a regular part of your routine. Then do it. For example:
- Take the bus, instead of the car. This can add four walks to your routine, to and from the bus stop on both ends of the trip. The bus isn’t convenient? Walk around the block before driving off or park farther away from your destination.
- Take the elevator to the floor below your desired destination, then walk up one floor. As your fitness level improves, extend this to two floors, three floors, or more
- Take a walk at lunch for 15–30 minutes. Keep a pair of walking shoes in the workplace for just this purpose. Find other opportunities to walk as well. Smokers have a regular routine of taking smoking breaks. Nonsmokers can take walking breaks on the same basis.
- Throw away your remotes and other laborsaving devices. Our next door neighbor refuses to get a garage door opener for just this reason. Getting up to change television channels is the simplest movement of all.
- Develop a regular pattern of daily exercise. Little snippets of walking and stair climbing are good, but not enough. Animals require sustained and vigorous exercise for optimum health. At the least very least, do some stretching and calisthenics when your first get up in the morning or before you go to sleep in the evening.
Sustained and vigorous aerobic exercises such as running, swimming, and cycling have many benefits. In addition to the obvious physical health benefits, they provide tremendous mental-health benefits as well. They release healthy endorphins into your system. They distract you from the stresses and strains of life. Plus they anchor you in the present moment.
The ability of sustained and vigorous aerobic exercise to anchor you in the present moment is similar to what happens during meditation. It may take a mile or two, but eventually you become more aware of your rhythmic breathing and flexing than of what you did yesterday or of what you have to do tomorrow. Exercise has been called a “mental vacation.” It relieves you of stress by calling your attention to what’s happening right now.
The ability to move is part of what defines our existence as human beings. Don’t squander that opportunity! The Enlightenment only got part of it right: “I think, there I am.” Most of us would benefit from an even more basic affirmation: “I move, therefore I am.”
To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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