The Pitfalls of Sitting Pretty

When someone asked the departing US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall about his retirement plans, he succinctly  replied, “Sit on my rear end.” Many of us dream of someday living out the rest of our days in some warm weather clime, free to do as we please, or perhaps, nothing at all for as long as humanly possible; hours free of work drudgery, tense office drama, and, especially of late, the all too commonplace need to shovel snow from the sidewalk and driveway.

The concept of sedentary idle time as a means of relaxation and/or reflection has transformed into a much less benign notion. Sitting around too much is bad for you and can even kill you? Medical experts have been saying it for a while now, and even the CEO of Apple, Inc. recently likened prolonged sitting to a serious life threatening condition every bit as bad as cancer! A cynic could surmise that Tim Cook knows full well people have pretty much maxed out their waking hours doing whatever it is they do all day in front of their computer screens and iPads, so now he wants us to get up and move about with shiny, pricy new smart watches that measure our heart rate, caloric intake, sleep habits, laps in the pool and paces around the gym. Technology does play a significant role in our overly sedentary lives.  People no longer even remember walking over to change the channel or flip over a record album or cassette tape, so it’s nice to see new tech gadgets actually help improve our daily health regimen.

As we navigate a path for our increasingly chaotic 21st century lives, it’s important to remember that quite often, the best solutions to many of our problems can be some of the simplest. The forthcoming newsletter of The Spina Bifida Resource Network devoted a full page “how-to”  (suitable for printing and framing) describing the various steps involved in “chair yoga”. Many of us who have reached advanced age, or move about wheelchair-enabled, or encounter any sort of troublesome mobility impairment  find a traditional gym workout lacking as far as fulfilling our need to stay active, trim, and fit. These chair yoga activities provide a fun, relaxing, low impact break from a typical work desk routine, encourage better body awareness and greater attention to more naturally rhythmic breathing. I myself and some of my friends had tried most of these at a session provided by another great organization in the New Jersey/New York Metro area, Alliance Center for Independence, in Edison, NJ.

I have shared a printable copy of the exercises below. With the weather as nasty as it has been lately, now is a good time to use these moves to position yourself within a better situation!

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