The easiest shortcut to health you can make

Gretchen Reynolds on ‘The First 20 Minutes’ – NYTimes.com.

Loved this article about Gretchen Reynolds’ (no relation) new book, The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer.

Reynolds, a New York Times health and fitness columnist, looks at what you can do to makes the most difference for your health with the least effort. It’s surprisingly easy. Exercise trumps diet, and it only takes 20 minutes a day, and it doesn’t have to be anything more than standing.

This interview reinforces the new knowledge that prolonged sitting is unhealthy. I now use a timer to remind me to stand up and move when I’m doing anything that requires long hours at a computer.

Here are some good bits:

The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in in the first 20 minutes of being active.

If someone starts an exercise program and improves his fitness, even if he doesn’t lose an ounce, he will generally have a longer life and a much healthier life. 

But the science shows that if you just do anything, even stand in place 20 minutes, you will be healthier.What would be nice would be for people to identify with the whole idea of moving more as opposed to quote “exercise.”

There is a whole scientific discipline called inactivity physiology that looks at what happens if you just sit still for hours at a time. If the big muscles in your legs don’t contract for hours on end, then you get physiological changes in your body that exercise won’t necessarily undo. Exercise causes one set of changes in your body, and being completely sedentary causes another.

I really do stand up at least every 20 minutes now, because I was spending five or six hours unmoving in my chair. The science is really clear that that is very unhealthy, and that it promotes all sorts of disease. All you have to do to ameliorate that is to stand up. You don’t even have to move. 

The human body is a really excellent coach. If you listen to it, it will tell you if you’re going hard enough, if you’re going too hard. If it starts to hurt, then you back off. It should just feel good, because we really are built to move, and not moving is so unnatural. Just move, because it really can be so easy, and it really can change your life.

Livin’ in the suburbs, drivin’ a rental

My posting has been infrequent lately because (1) I’m working full-time on a three-month technical writing contract and (2) I just moved after selling my home of 10 years.

I thought I got rid of a lot of stuff when I got the house ready to list back in November, but when it came time to pack and move all but some basic necessities into a storage unit, I discovered that I still have way too much stuff. Gonna need another weeding when I move into my trailer.

Moving has been disorienting. I lost my little red Canon camera some time between Saturday afternoon, when I had someone take a photo of Judith Lasater and me (she created restorative yoga, would have loved to put that on my yoga page) and Wednesday morning, when I wanted to photograph some spectacular clouds and discovered my camera was not in my purse.

I’ve contacted Yoga Yoga and looked under the car seats and in the most obvious places. It will probably show up at some point. (Apparently the police found my laptop that was stolen in December! Will get that back next week!)

I also can’t find a box with my supplements in it. I take most of the supplements recommended in the book Buddha’s Brain. I’m glad I posted about them, because I may need to go buy replacements, and that book is deep in a box in storage.

Yesterday I completely forgot the PIN for my debit card. Proof that nourishing those neurotransmitters makes a tangible difference!

Adding to my feelings of disorientation and insecurity, I’ve been having car problems since Dec. 23. I took it back to the shop twice for problems; then when it overheated, I took it to a different shop, and that shop discovered it had a blown head gasket, which none of the previous shops had discovered.

I’m ready for my car to be fixed completely! And I hear myself whining and know that I created this. Well, maybe not all of it, but I wanted a change. And here I am. Livin’ in the suburbs, drivin’ a rental, camera-less and supplement-less. Oh well!

A couple of positive notes: Mango handled the move really well. This was our first move together. I bought him a top-loading cat carrier — much easier to get him into it. I moved him with the last load, and he meowed most of the way. He’s been super affectionate and hasn’t even tried to go outside yet.

And…he’s been behaving in a frisky manner! Running and jumping up on furniture with a goofy look on his face! I think he likes this place — a big house with three people to give him attention.

The other note: Saturday, in the midst of moving, I took a restorative yoga workshop with Judith Lasater, who created restorative yoga. I’m so glad I  did. I’ll post about that separately.

Anyway, here I am living in Wells Branch with Katie and Keith and Mango, while I work on this contract job and purchase, get transported, and set up my next home, a vintage trailer. Stay tuned for more adventures!