Sedantarism

Right now, “sedentary culture” is part of the broader, overarching culture, but subcultures—including our individual culture—can also be sedentary. These sedentary subcultures end up reinforcing the overarching culture, so what can we do? I’m (obviously) interested in working on sedentarism at the broadest cultural level, but I recognize that the most immediate benefits can be found by changing our personal culture. I’ve made working on sedentarism at this level part of my work as well.

~ Katy Bowman from, https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/changing-a-sedentary-culture/

Overall, the amount of activity [for Americans] has gone up slightly since the 1970s. The big issue is that our diet is killing us. Becoming more active alone isn’t enough—and Bowman’s take is nuanced, I’m not disagreeing with her article. But the first-order thing is diet. (I don’t mean “restriction” or “reduction” per se, I mean what specifically are you eating? That, “diet.”) That said, “eat better stuff” and “move around” is the prescription.

I’m reminded of, that room we all euphemistically call a living room: Would I call it my sedentary entertainment room, if I were honest? I realized that I should call it that, and so I rearranged the entire room, and got rid of the dedicated “tv” device. I still consume entertainment, but now it’s just one thing I can do in that room, rather than what the room is designed to be used for. We’ve done this, and continue to redo this occassionally, for every space inside and outside our home. For example: We don’t have a “second bedroom” nor “guest room”; We have [what we call] the “middle room”… and it’s got foam mats on the floor and random exercise, self-care, movement stuff… a finger-board over the door, a full-length mirror, a pull-up bar bolted into the ceiling, a chalk-board wall for tracking and notes… space for books. And the room also has a folding frame, air mattress, and bedding for the extremely rare guests who visit.

Frankly, there isn’t much in the way of “sedentary” left that I can trim out of my life. The vast majority of what I do is mental work. So I’m reading, writing and computing a lot. What’s left for me is to develop a healthy relationship to food. I get mental—over think, extreme thinking, stuck in my head… that sort of thing—and the way I’ve learned is the easiest escape is to run to entertainment. And to eat while being entertained. But, I’ve only learned that as being the easiest. There are a number of other things that also work to “fix” my thinking: Reading, writing, and physical activity can all work too. The hard part is changing my learned behavior. For me, it’s a matter of crafting my environment to encourage me to do things other than seek entertainment. (Learning to not mentally stress myself out would be even better, and I’m working on that too.)

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Is movement an integral part of my life?

It certainly is an integral part of life, in general. But the vast majority of my life does not involve movement. I probably move more than the average American my age. I certainly moved a lot more in my 20s when I had a job that involved doing things. (Make this, move that, go over there, etc.) But today, movement is something that—I don’t quite have to make time for it, but I definitely have to be mindful of it. I generally plan to do something every day. Usually that’s a multi-mile walk, a leisurely bike ride, an hour wrestling with firewood, etc..

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