And definitely, positively, absolutely Treat While You Train.* A must for all other times.
Whether it’s old episodes of Star Trek or new episodes of Game of Thrones, you know it happens to the best of us. We get hooked into the comfort and total relaxation of blissful television watching. Not because the programming is blissful but because we are worn out and need mindless entertainment. But if you realized what being a couch potato is doing to you, you would get up and move. You can still watch the shows, but treat your body like the royalty that it is. You want your body to keep serving you late into your life, right? You don’t want to be forced to exist in front of that boob tube (70’s slang for television) with one of those recliners that helps you get up because you can’t do it for yourself. So take care now.
Here are some super easy, beneficial activities you can do while watching the tele (British slang for television since everything sounds better with an accent.)
1. Get off the couch and lie down on the floor. Use a pillow under your head if your chin points up toward the ceiling. Let your body be out of the sitting position that most people are in more than TEN HOURS A DAY. While you are here, hug one leg in toward your chest, take 5 full breaths, and then switch sides. If you’re feeling wild, hug both knees in at the same time.
2. Stand up for 1 minute out of each fifteen minutes you are watching TV. Ears should be aligned above your shoulders. You may have to actually create a tiny double chin action to get this part. Your head sits on top of your lungs, lungs on top of pelvis, and feet underneath all of that with all ten toes facing forward. It may not be your best posture, but it’s better than the slump you were in on the couch. Now do some good, old-fashioned shoulder rolls.
3. Sit on your ischial tuberosities. Yoga teachers often call the two bones at the base of your pelvis “sits” bones. When you are not sitting on those, you are most likely sitting on your tailbone or your sacrum and your hamstrings are being forced into constant contraction. You wouldn’t contract your hamstrings for two hours straight on purpose so don’t watch TV in this position either. Please. When sitting, think again about what was mentioned in No. 2: Head over lungs, lungs over pelvis, knees in line with hips and ankles under knees.
4. Change your position. Stand up. Go up to your tiptoes. From standing, go down to the floor. From the floor, get on your hands and knees. From hands and knees, get back up to standing. Go back up to your tiptoes. Do this three times… or thirty times. On final standing, lift one foot off the ground and play with balance. Feel free to have a light touch on a wall or the edge of your couch.
5. Sit at the edge of the chair or couch on your ischial tuberosities. Use your posture guidelines from above. Bring your right ankle to the outside of your left thigh just above your knee. Dorsiflex your ankle. (Your foot should look like it could go into a flat shoe, not a heel.) This may be enough. If you want more, lean forward without changing your spine. Don’t reach with your chest or your stomach. Just lean forward with your long spine. This is a great for one of the external rotators, especially the piriformis, a muscle that is closely related to the sciatic nerve. Take a few full belly breaths and switch sides.
Thanks for Treating While You TV. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
*Treat While You Train is a self-care DVD and Kit extravaganza with Jill Miller and Kelly Starrett – a must have for anyone with a body, athlete or not.