Lifestyle Exercise...

Here are a couple articles about getting exercise in simple, every-day kinds of ways.

First, standing desks. This is an article that highlights the frustration of relying too heavily on 'news' articles about anything.  Even fairly decent sources can get it wrong (in this case, NPR and Huffington Post). This article points out the flaws in the research that was cited by NPR and the Huffington Post.  Standing desks do indeed help according to a Mayo Clinic source.   I have heard plenty of anecdotal evidence that affirms the same thing. I am typing right now at a make-shift standing desk (I'm pretty much always at a 'make-shift' version since my office is pretty mobile these days). As the article says; "Bottom Line: It’s best to get up out of our chairs and move around at least every hour or two." (plus, I've posted about standing desks before.)

Second is an article about everyday exercise at home, with lots of supporting links. The bottom line here is that it doesn't take a club membership to get good exercise. It deals with aerobics, strength training and mobility/flexibility as well. Karen Sue Murdy, a professional exercise physiologist (and all around great person) indicates that the research is clear: one of the key factors for success is to be able to exercise at home, without having to go out to an 'exercise facility'.

Standing Desks

The research is pretty overwhelming - huge gains in worker productivity happen by simply standing instead of sitting at a desk. There are many tools now to help you be able to both stand and sit at the same desk, including some tools for what you stand on. (warning: I have not used the Wurf board myself; time and research will decide if it is a good idea; check out the short video the web page has; I think I'd give this one a try.) 

My office is currently in constant flux and so I use cardboard boxes to get 'standing height' on my computer, and I've known people to use unopened reams of paper and books shelves behind their desk to accomplish the same thing. I can work much longer at the computer when I'm standing vs when I'm sitting - no contest. You have to find a proper height for looking at the screen and hand height for the keyboard.  And I know a lawyer who bought a standing desk with a treadmill built in because he was trying to beat the early afternoon drowsiness.  He was initially the laughing stock of the office. Now, they fight to use his desk when he is out of the office. (The better treadmill desks restrict the speed to the slow side of things - the purpose is NOT exercise, it is adding movement to gain the boost of chemicals the muscle movement produces. And the treadmill desk can also just be used as a standing desk when that is preferred.)

And, by the way, productivity studies also show a 60% increase in creativity just by adding walking breaks at work.

Primary Food.

This post comes from a blog I watch regularly on my Twitter feed: Integrated Nutrition. The blog post is about "Primary Food".  It is a helpful look at keeping a whole person view of health.  As the post says, you can be eating all healthy foods and still not feel truly healthy if other key areas are out of whack.  Their key point is here (they are pretty weak on the source of Spiritual power but we know where that comes from):

The bottom line is: when you are nourished and happy in the ways that truly matter, food becomes secondary. 

Here are some of the things we consider to be Primary Foods:

  • Regular physical movement
  • Meaningful positive relationships
  • Fulfilling work
  • Some form of spiritual connection (whatever that means for you)
  • Following your personal passions
  • Non-dietary forms of self-care
  • Playfulness, creativity, and fun

Some simple things to work on. May be good to start where you have strengths and are doing well and affirm your positives and then build off the strengths into the areas that are weaker.

Read me first...

This blog will be (generally) a weekly blog to support the pilot project called Realign to the Design (RTD). RTD is an attempt to use regular gatherings of Pastors (and other full time church workers) as a support group for their overall health journey.  Different Denominations call them different things. My background is LCMS Lutheran and we call them monthly Circuit meetings - a regular gathering of Pastors in a geographically close area used for study, worship and fellowship.

The RTD pilot will include a kick-off workshop, this blog, monthly phone calls to add another layer of accountability, a Facebook page for peer to peer posting, and some kind of expression in the local congregation to bring the members on board as well.

This blog will include posts on the three main topics of the workshop - and of trying to stay healthy - exercise, diet and play. Plus whatever else looks helpful and interesting.  I'll try to respond to what I hear from the regular phone calls so the resources are what is being asked for.

Blessings on the journey. Contact me if you have questions.

Exercise OverView

This is one of the main three things I'll post about: Exercise, Diet and Play.

It is hard to believe just how dramatically exercise affects academic achievement. The evidence is clear and overwhelming: The single simplest way to boost academic performance is to add vigorous exercise - at any age.

The book "Spark" by Dr. John Ratey gives one of the best overviews available in a very readable and understandable format. And the impact on academics is just the beginning: stress, anxiety, depression, attention deficit, menopause, and aging - all are positively impacted by exercise.

The beauty also is that it does NOT mean you have to become an "athlete" or a "runner". "Walking like you're late" does the trick just as well. Start at your "A" and then find your "B" and work to maintain that. Jumping to "D" is a mistake: raises the potential for injury and, perhaps more importantly, makes it harder to successfully sustain. "I knew I was no good at this!".

And we also have a mistaken notion about energy and exercise. If we feel a bit tired, we tend to think that exercise will make it worse.  If all else is going well (healthy diet and enough rest), exercise actually adds to your energy level.

Happy walking or running or swimming or .... whatever!