Each of us has a built-in solution to the effects of technology on our bodies (think of the software built into a computer). We all have a built-in instinct to stretch. Your body constantly wants to correct and improve its posture because it wants to be efficient, just like a computer. Being efficient is the basis on which the body works because it uses less energy that way.
If in your life I was a fly on the wall and I watched you all day, you constantly show certain gestures. Not just out of nervousness or embarrassment, but because your body is trying to correct the stiffness it’s working against and get itself back into the right posture. Your body will do it for you. Really, this is NOT an exaggeration. Each of us has a unique way in which we constantly jerk, jerk, jerk, or otherwise move parts of our bodies. We do this as an unconscious effort to straighten our bodies. What you can do is turn that intuitive, innate attempt at self-alignment or self-adjustment, that natural course correction, into a conscious action. It’s a beautiful thing.
Random movement is what activates the stretch instinct, which is exactly what we don’t get as a result of technology. We do this first by learning how to shake our body. Shaking your body is just that, you learn to shake your body. Just like your pet stretches when they wake up or get out of the water, or your toddler stretches and relaxes in the cradle before moving. Pets and small children do it automatically. As adults, life speeds up and takes over, and for a number of reasons we fall out of the habit, instinct lies dormant.
The best way to do that is to shake your body, and it only takes a minute.
Shaking is a full-body vibrating motion designed to shake off tension and stress, much like a swimmer shakes off water when exiting a pool. Standing with both feet on the ground, first shake your legs back and forth independently with quick, almost jerky movements. Add your hips, arms and shoulders and then your head. Now your whole body is shaking. Pretend you’re shivering and overdo it. Shake your arms in all directions – up, down, sideways and around. Shake your hands really well. This is especially good if you use the computer for a long period of time. Let your body take over. It will!
Next, stand still, and then quickly move your knees up and down in short, jerky motions, as if trying to push through the floor. You should feel vibrations and tremors throughout your body. It’s like experiencing an earthquake, only you create it.
For a change, lift and shake one leg at a time with your body in motion. Hold it away from your body – front, side and back in different positions. Use your hand to hold a chair or brace yourself against a wall if balancing is difficult. This will greatly improve your balance and coordination, keep you loose, and help you shake off life’s stresses.
After you learn to shake your body, your body takes over, and at that point you make the movement your own. Every time, every day, do the shaking as needed, depending on the circumstances. So you won’t tremble like me or anyone else. You will tremble as you tremble. After a few days it becomes second nature, unconsciously, (instinct lives and takes over again). You will find yourself doing this for a few moments or even a minute or two at various times throughout the day. This is your body’s natural way of staying loose. At this point you have made it your own.
Creating associations is a great way to learn things first. For example, if a person is dehydrated, I suggest they make a habit of drinking water after going to the bathroom. Then they have to go to the toilet again. Then they will drink more water and ultimately the problem of dehydration will decrease. We all have those little routines that we do throughout the day, like waiting in line or getting gas, that provide the perfect time for a few moments to loosen up the body. When I’m in line at the supermarket, I just lift a foot slightly off the floor and stand there. This trains my balance and coordination while standing in line waiting for my turn. Those few moments count, and we all end up queuing at some point anyway. It’s just a matter of a few seconds here and a few seconds there; it’s all cumulative.
I call these “random sizes”, not exercises. It is simply a movement controlled by your body that you perform in place for a few moments, often while doing something else. It doesn’t matter how you’re dressed, no matter what’s going on, and it only takes a few moments to complete. This is exactly how compound interest accumulates your financial savings. You just do a little bit here, a little bit there and it just keeps adding up.
If you forget it for a day or two, so what? You just pick it up again. Because at the beginning you will sometimes forget until it becomes automatic; because you’re busy and life is taking over.
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