My guest, Annette Cashell, is a Restorative Exercise Specialist and Pilates instructor.
You may recognize yourself in Annette. For many years she had a “real job” aka, sit at a desk for a long time every day. She took up Pilates to help with her lower back pain and did that for 16 years.
“I still had issues with my wrist, with my knee, and eventually I had an issue with my neck. I had terrible chronic pain radiating down my arm. It got to the stage I was told I needed a fusion operation. I didn't want to do a neck fusion operation. I work with many people who came to my classes with fusions that hadn't gone that well.”
Why were things still falling apart I wondered? So, I kind of looked into the big picture and I realized that I was what people called an active couch potato."
Active couch potatoes, may exercise every day, maybe an hour or two every day but they're inactive the rest of the day.
A light bulb went off for me.
For Annette, “I had to reframe how I moved and I started looking at how many hours I sat and how sedentary I was.”
She trained with NutritiousMovement.com, avoided the neck fusion operation, is on no meds, has had no pain since then.
“I've also reversed the bone loss in my spine and my hips, which I contribute to adding movement to my diet.”
I’m now all ears…
The difference between movement and exercise.
“In my mind, exercise is something normally where you put on a particular type of clothing. You might wear certain types of shoes. You might have a tennis racket or a piece of equipment in your hand. You might even drive there to do it. And you also normally have in your head a certain amount of time allocated to it. And when you've done this, you tend to take it off your mental list.”
Movement is the rest of the day, which might sound horrendous, but it's not because it's very small, frequent bouts of movement spread throughout your day."
In the good old days people moved a lot just getting through the day.
Washing clothes by hand, walking to stores or farming, cooking. Now we ride or drive everywhere, machines wash and dry our clothes, food is delivered ready to eat.
As Annette said,
“We have to physically crowbar a bit of exercise into our day.”
Nutritious movement has the argument, the training that she did, that movement is not medicine. Movement is nutrition.
Our conversation about bare feet led to talk about kids and bare feet. Annette works with schools on the movement and kids thing and has had remarkable results with them when they take off their shoes.
“Our feet are sensors, sensory devices, you have twenty thousand sensory receptors in the soles of your feet. So, if you got your child and put gloves on their hands and expect them to thrive, you would realize that's ridiculous.”
Bare feet and women, the pelvic floor—two subjects I never thought I’d write in one sentence. Annette explains it better than I will—just listen or read the transcript.
The sneeze, jump, and cough pee are not inevitable. Back to the pelvic floor and balance, bare feet, and zombie movies. If you missed the episode on Escape rooms and zombies, it’s here.
Got "tech neck"? You likely do if you spend a good deal of time looking down at your phone or tablet and that’s only going to lead to problems down the road.
Annette recommends standing more in your day as an easy way to sit less.
Of course, you can move more while sitting but people might think you’re weird.
She mentioned a simple towel roll for our chairs that will align our spine.
What about exercise? Is one kind better than another?
“If you love the gym, go to the gym. If you love cycling on a bike at the gym, that's fine. But realize how much you're sitting the rest of the day. So, if the rest of your day requires sitting, cycling on a bike might not be the best exercise for you.”
Why she’s not a fan of treadmills and why our brains don’t do well while reading while walking on a treadmill.
Awareness is important. How can you build in little awarenesses that it’s time to move, at least to get up from the seat and do something for a few minutes?
You likely already get psychic hits from your body that it wants to move—give your body what it wants.
No conversation about movement (and pelvic floors) would be complete with including the squatty potty. Hey, humans were designed to squat.
Want to know if you are—or how much you are—an active couch potato? Sign up for Annette’s newsletter and she’ll send you her “How to sit less” package. In it you’ll find a calculator that will show you—honest answers only please—your health risk based on how much you sit.
If you recreate your environment to add movement into your routine you don’t need willpower anymore. Like replacing your desk chair with a yoga ball or get that squatty potty bench. She’s got lots more ideas too.
I shared TMI about camping and well, you know, squatting.