Runners and other athletes like to think they are healthy. We take comfort in our cardiovascular fitness, our low blood pressure, our low resting heart rates. We feel strong, mentally and physically, because we run. And we might even feel a little superior over others. I’m certainly not here to take those feelings away from anyone.
But recently I’ve been thinking (and learning) more and more about the importance of what we are doing with our bodies when we aren’t working out… You know, the other 23 hours…
That’s right, folks, “exercise” is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to movement, which I’ve learned is a really broad word that covers big movements — like moving your leg on a pedal to power a bike — and little movements like our core muscles contracting when we breathe, or our eyes focusing on something in the distance, or our toe adjusting to keep us balanced as we walk over a cobblestone. We hear a lot more and think a lot more about the big movements, but in some cases, these little movements can be even more important for our long-term wellness than the big ones. So this all raises some questions…
How much and what kind of movement are we doing during the 23-non-exercise hours in a day? How is that other movement shaping us?
We also need to think about the flip side: our lack of movement. Do we run 10 miles and then lie on the couch for the rest of a Sunday? Do we lift hard before work and then park our tailbones in a desk chair for 10 hours without a break? How is that sedentary state changing our bodies?
What ways can we incorporate more movement, and more healthy movement in particular, into our lives? Will doing so help us live better? Will it help us run better?
To try to work through these questions, I am starting a new series on this blog titled “The Other 23 Hours.” Here are a few topics I plan on covering, to start:
- Alignment and breathing basics
- The pelvic floor
- Sitting and movement at work
- Footwear at work
- Relaxation time, floor sitting, and squatting
- Chores as movement, and movement “stacking”
This series is heavily inspired by the work of biomechanist Katy Bowman, and I will link to her and her students heavily. If you’ve chatted with me for more than 10 minutes in the last four months, you’ve probably heard all about Katy. Because her work is incredibly refreshing, revolutionary, and intuitive to me. I hope you’ll stick around and be part of this conversation here on the blog, but if you want to get a jump start on exploring these topics, check out Katy’s site.