One of my favorite animated movie series is Madagascar. And one of my favorite parts is when the zoo animals sing “I like to move it move it! I like to move it, move it! I like to move it, move it! We like to move it!” They all start dancing around, including the hippos…! It’s a great dance song, and it’s just so true! I like to move my body.
Our bodies are meant to move. Movement keeps the fluid flowing through our joints and prevents many injuries and illnesses. Unfortunately, many of our jobs seem to keep us tied to our chairs, desks, and computer screens. Nearly everyone who has a job is very busy while they are there.
So do you incorporate movement into your workday? Could you do it even more often or more consistently? I work on this all the time. There are a few aspects, some as simple as changing position, others requiring a willingness to be mindful of the body, and yet others around the culture in which you work.
Movement does not have to have anything to do with strain, sweat, or even stretching. You can simply change from one position to another. Here are a few ideas:
Phone stroll. Get up out of the chair and walk around a bit (or walk in place) when on the telephone.
Cat/cow in the chair. Moving the spine so the middle of your back pushes back while head and tailbone go forward is easy and really great for your body.
Up and down. Try raising your chair a bit, or lower it down a bit. If you really cannot get up, this can at least change the pressures on your legs and spine.
Stand and sit. If possible, get a standing/sitting platform for your computer and keyboard.
What needs to move?
Even better, consider what movement you like – or what your body seems to need most. Do it.
Usually an easy place to start movement is by stretching those areas where you feel tight or uncomfortable. Do a body scan to decide what to move and how. This requires your mindful attention to what is true – paying attention to areas of tension at the present moment and not pushing away discomfort or thinking of it as bad. I could give you a list of ideas, but it’s best if your body gives you the ideas.
Our colleague here at Present Source, Carissa Fish, would often find a private space and have a little “dance party” by herself to re-energize during the workday. No one was watching, so it was safe. Now that’s the way to move it!
Company culture on moving
Other questions to consider, particularly if you are in a leadership position are:
- How well accepted is movement in our culture?
- What could I do to model this healthy behavior?
- How can we encourage others to move not only before or after work, but during the workday?
- Beyond policies, programs and perqs, how can we create a healthy culture where movement is seen as the productivity booster it is?
What are your favorite movement or position breaks? How is your work culture and situation supporting or thwarting your movement? Let me know!