Breaking Homeostasis

Homeostasis is defined as the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.” Simply put, it’s a steady state maintained by living systems. Even before the you-know-what hit the fan I found myself struggling with breaking the steady state. Whoever created the couch did us no favours. Especially the person that decided adding really cushy cushions to it would be a good idea. Now that this virus has stopped the world, breaking homeostasis is harder than ever. If we don’t change something now there will be a whole bunch more pain when we can move around freely again.

The first tip I have is find a system that reminds you to get up. If you have a cell phone or tablet there is a timer function. I find that easier than setting an alarm for a specific time. Another trick is put the device on the other side of the room. That way there’s no choice but to get up and shut it off. That is more than half the battle won!

I use the Pomodoro method. That is 25 minutes of “work” and a 5-minute break. There are two benefits to this method. One is that it gets me sitting down and working. There is something that feels attainable about focusing for 25 minutes. The other benefit is that it provides for frequent standing and moving breaks. Choose the timing that works best for you. The more you get up, the more your blood flows and that is a good thing! In addition to working out muscle tightness it improves brain function.

Next, what do you do when you do stand up? This current situation that we are all in is limiting. Saying that “we should make the best of it” sounds lame but it is one choice that we all have. So, get up and move in the space that you have. Exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges, planks and Burpees are obvious choices (okay, maybe not the Burpees) but how about trying something a little different? I created this sequence of exercises for a client that was sitting far too much and paying the price with back soreness. If you’re someone who does yoga it’s similar to a sun salutation but I like to call it a Burpee-in-disguise.

  • From a standing position put your hands on the floor in front of you walk them forward into a downward dog. Hold this position for as long as you like. It’s a great stretch.

  • Walk your hands forward into a straight arm plank and hold for a bit.

  • Do 5+ push-ups.

  • Lower your body to the floor and into the cobra. Hold here as long as it feels good.

  • Lift your body back into the straight arm plank position and walk your hands back into the downward dog. Hold again.

  • Walk your hands back toward your feet, while bending your knees and rolling on to your heels so that you end up in the squat position. Do 5+ squats while you’re there.

  • Repeat or stand up and head back to whatever it was you were doing. 

If you are going to give this a try, only do the parts that are good for you to do. Remember, doing something is better than doing nothing. Don’t let the steady state get the better of you.

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