Saturday, May 2, 2009

Don't sit down, please

Last week was very busy for bodywork, hence a tardy post to the blog. I'm happy to have so many people making appointments, so thank you.

Although I do my work on my feet, most of us work sitting down. We also drive sitting down, eat, read, and use our computers and TV's while sitting.

So when we go to the gym, does it make sense to exercise while sitting?

My simplest suggestion for exercise is to not sit down during your workout. First this means your body is out of the sitting posture it's in so much and which is not natural for our alignment. When sitting our hip flexors and hamstrings are shortened. All the muscles which should be working to maintain balance are idle, and circulation is restricted. There are other disadvantages, but you get the idea.

The other reason I give the "don't sit down" advice is because almost all of the sit-down machines are designed to isolate a single muscle group. If you're a professional bodybuilder trying to meet some arbitrary ideal of proportions, or care only about a few particular muscles and not overall fitness, fine. But sports and life don't involve sitting down with out backs, butts, and feet braced while pushing or pulling a rigid mechanism constrained to move in a single direction. Simply by avoiding sitting, you will avoid these nearly useless machines.

At the gym you can stand, lean, swing, roll, or jump. In sports and life, when we need strength, we aren't sitting down. We're moving, picking things up, pushing, pulling, often all at the same time. Think of putting a child in a car. The entire body gets involved, working and coordinating muscles from hand to foot and at varying angles and directions.

I think you'll find whole body exercises to be a lot more fun besides. Do consider working with a personal trainer at first to teach correct form, since there won't be a machine holding you in place.

Yesterday I went to the garden store and bought a basil and a parsley start. I love walking through all the plants there, and I deliberately take only a few dollars so I won't buy far more than my balcony can accommodate. In a few days I'll get another basil for sure though, and maybe a marigold to eat as well.


  1. I would love to see some pics of the plants you are growing. I have always had trouble with pot gardens but it sounds like you have perfected it.

  2. I've decided it's time to buy a digital camera, so soon plant photos will be posted.

    Meeting the artistic quality of your food pictures will be my goal.