Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

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the_platypus
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Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by the_platypus »

There is this interesting, somewhat anecdotal study on sleeping and sitting postures in more traditional societies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119282/

And I understand there is good research to support barefoot running and walking benefits.

Lately I have tried...walking and running either barefoot or in vibrams (toe shoes), sitting in various postures on the floor, and sleeping on the floor (laying on a blanket/foam mattress topper/blanket layer and then using a pillow and single sheet).

I think the next steps of these would be...running and walking barefoot only (when practical, such as nature walks or runs), sleeping without a pillow, removing a layer or two from the floor sleeping arrangement.

Anyone else experimented with things like this for...financial/health reasons? Thoughts? Experiences?

Alphaville
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Alphaville »

i’ve been wearing xeros and vivo barefoots for years now. i like them.

i started with vibrams but i had problems with toe fit (10 toes + 2 feet = 12 “fits” that must work or else), and i gave them up after a few pairs.

my wife tried vibrams and almost broke her foot just walking on them—was sore for months on the metatarsals. eventually settled for flat shoes like.... what’s the name... keens? & others. minimalist but not as thin.

i don’t trust totally shoeless—especially in parks, where many dogs crap—i don’t want hookworms & other parasites.

i used to sleep on a mat on the floor but got a platform bed for the mat eventually. same as the floor, just “nicer”. a loft, if you will.

i’ve always prefered a standing desk and now i’m lucky to have a nice one.

unfortunately my physical therapist recommends i don’t do deep squats or put pressure on my knees sitting seiza at this point. i use a tall cushion for meditation and sit burmese not lotus.

i recline *a lot* or sit up straight at the edge of a chair. i don’t like to sit much—terrible on the hip flexors.

i prefer thin pillows (or no pillow when lying flat,

i like lying “cobra pose” (minus the stretch- just on elbows) when reading etc... good for the back.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I work on my laptop on low table sitting in diamond pose. My knees are good and my hips are very flexible in that direction, so comfortable core promoting position for me.

I try to free squat like an Asian child when I am working in the garden, but it is not so comfortable.

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Lemur
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Lemur »

@7Wannabe5

That the same as Vajrasana pose? Where you sit on your calves....

Perhaps that is something one has to work into? That is...very painful for me but looks like something I should build flexibility to do. I used to not like squatting but now prefer it when working in the garden.

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jennypenny
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by jennypenny »

I thought there was a thread on Katy Bowman's 'Move your DNA' but I can't find it. Maybe someone else remembers what it was called?

Hristo Botev
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Hristo Botev »

the_platypus wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:42 pm
Anyone else experimented with things like this for...financial/health reasons? Thoughts? Experiences?
I haven't experimented, personally. But I had some Australian gold miner friends a long time ago who used to tell this anecdote from one of their international digs (I unfortunately can't remember the country), but they thought they were being good bosses for buying benches for the guys they'd hired to help, who'd just spend the day squatting on the ground as they worked. Anyway, they showed up the day after they bought the benches and everyone was now just squatting on the benches instead of the ground. Presumably it would have been seriously unnatural/uncomfortable for them to spend the day sitting on a bench.

Eureka
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Eureka »

Yes, I have experimented with all of it. It has been so worth while and I don't even think about it as experiments any longer. It has become my default way of moving. It only took a few (2 maybe) years of dedication to get there. Probably I had a better starting point than most so it might take a little longer for others. But the benefits to bodily health and well beeing are huge so platypus you seem to be on a good track, I hope you will keep up your efforts and get to know the difference to your body from direct experience.

Now I sleep easily directly on a wooden floor (or on a sheet if naked) or if cold on a wool blanket. No pillow. And I am like the gold mine workers mentioned above, even if there is a bed, say in a hotel or when visiting other people's houses, I usually secretly sneak to sleep on the floor anyway as the sleep quality is much better and my body more rested the next day.

Walking barefoot most of the time from April through October and occasionally in winther. Once used to it, all the extra sensations from direct skin contact with the ground, give a whole new dimension to moving around. Only long stretches on asphalt or concrete (more than 10 km) call for (minimalist) sandals/shoes - or when in cities in order not to look too weird. When hiking in nature, 40 km/day without shoes is common. I do it because I can. Human beings have done so for millions of years so of course I can too. Definitely, my feet and ankles have gotten much stronger. As a kid, I used to have sprained ankles all the time. Now it never happens.

Floor sitting in all kinds of positions and squatting is also something I do for hours every day when at home. Both in front of a computer, when preparing food, mending stuff or doing whatever I happen to do.

I was hugely inspired by Katy Bowman when I started to include all these natural movements into my daily life. I like her approach of stacking things, so that exercise and taking care of and training my body is not done as a separate thing but integrated in what I do anyway.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Lemur:i

The position is naturally easy for me because I am pigeon toed. My hips are much less flexible in opposite direction. My knees are in great shape even though I am chubby. I am not super fit for 55, but I am in youthful shape for 55. I look more like a chubby teenager than most of my peers.

chenda
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by chenda »

Alphaville wrote: i’ve always prefered a standing desk and now i’m lucky to have a nice one.
How did you find the transition from a standard desk ? I've been thinking of doing the same as sitting is apparently really bad for you and it can't be corrected by exercise..

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/w ... ad-for-us/

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jennypenny
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by jennypenny »

@chenda -- I switched to a drafting table and chair. I try to stand for almost everything but the drafting height chair allows me to sit easily if I'm working on something where I need to sit for a few minutes.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

The book Deskbound by Kelly Starrett is about avoiding/solving problems caused by working at a desk. I found it helpful.

Alphaville
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:21 am
How did you find the transition from a standard desk ? I've been thinking of doing the same as sitting is apparently really bad for you and it can't be corrected by exercise..

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/w ... ad-for-us/
oh, it’s... i have a long history with it, and can’t extract a simple sentence to answer this, i hope i don’t make my answer too long.

i first tried many many years ago in college. i had a drafting table like @jennypenny does. it was a great success, i loved that table, wrote a ton on it, although as an office desk it had its limits.

then school ended i had to move and travel etc and got rid of it. when i settled and went back to grad school i forgot everything or couldn’t find a good drafting table and got a regular desk. the desk and sitting all day in grad school gave me some health problems i’d rather... not discuss :lol:

so then i built an ikea ivar unit with a keyboard tray. it worked great for years. they don’t make the keyboard tray anymore i think. then i moved and had to sit again and had problems again. after that i’ve had all kinds of standing desks: engineering desks (half sitting, half drafting table), diy builds on shelf units, shelves on walls, etc. once you find your right height it’s great. more on that later.

recently i moved to a city apartment where i couldn’t build a setup. so in a hurry i ordered a cheapo standing desk. worked in a pinch but is flimsy and rickety.

there’s a problem also when you add a computer. because the optimal height for the keyboard is roughtly at your elbows, and your neck is better when your head floats on the neck relaxed. so there is a big natural distance between keyboard and monitor, and hunching forward will give you headaches. so i ended up needing something more solid than the crappy cart.

the stance also develops a more ergonomic one with practice. e.g. people tend to stand on their heels with the knees locked straight. which is terrible, then they buy “ergonomic mats” to cushion, i prefer to fix my stance.

i stand better with knees slightly bent, feet shoulder width apart, back with the right arch (“j spine”), shoulders back, chin slightly tucked in... so a monitor stand and a keyboard tray are necessary for me these days.

i ended up getting an adjustable electric desk for a bunch of (long) reasons. so far it’s been worth it for me as it solves many problems.

added also some mobility with a rocker board, which is great fun. bit like a stakeboard.

so it’s not so much of a transition anymore as an ongoing lifestyle thing. sitting long hours—it just kills me.

chenda
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by chenda »

@jennypenny @ gilberto @alphaville - many thanks. I won't ask about the health problems alphaville ;)

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Western Red Cedar »

If anyone is interested in barefoot running I would recommend Born to Run (A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen) by Christopher McDougall. The author argues that early humans ran extreme distances for hunting and we are biologically built to run. Modern footwear is the culprit for most running injuries. The book details races/adventures of some of the leading ultra-marathoners and an indigenous tribe in Northern Mexico called the Tarahumara who are some of the best runners in the world and run with sandals made of old tires and rope.

the_platypus
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by the_platypus »

So after sticking with these practices to varying degrees for around a couple weeks now, here's an update...

For walking, I'm getting more comfortable with the toe shoes. Been using them on my regular daily walks. I'm learning that a very mild forefoot or midfoot strike is best. Also, I reduce my stride length and increase the frequency of stepping, compared to when wearing normal shoes.

@Alphaville, you mentioned there is a risk of hookworms or other parasites from stepping on animal feces. Actually, what I found was that hookworms and other soil-transmitted helminths (https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/sth/index.html) tend to be transmitted via human feces. Varieties of tapeworms, it seems, can be contracted from either eating infected animal meat or eating an infected flea from a dog or cat. So, do you know specifically what risks are applicable from dog or cat poop on a trail in the more temperate/cold parts of North America?

For standing I think the biggest problem I had was I stuck out my butt too much. That would result in some lower back pain over time. Tightening up the core and rolling the hips forward somewhat seems to help. Other than that posture seems fine.

For sitting I REALLY love how I feel when I sit more naturally. On those days, it is a lot of...half-lotus, diamond pose, squatting (either Asian style or with the heels off the ground), or some other kind of sprawled out position. I really notice how much more stretched out I am when I do this. Previously, I was having some Achilles tendon inflammation from running -- but squatting with the heels off the ground really seems to help with that. And I notice that I get up off the ground much more quickly after having sat in these positions and stretched out for a while. On days when I am not mindful and back to sitting in a chair....well I don't feel so much like a sapling but rather a snag :)

For lying the sheet-foam mattress topper-sheet combo works great. I sleep perfectly on it. Now, I am working on just sleeping on a comforter, and I have gotten to where I can sleep fairly well on that. Soon I hope to sleep well on the comforter, and then eventually, maybe I can try sleeping without a pillow. That seems to be the part I have the most challenge with; using the arm as a head rest inevitably results in it falling asleep and then needing to lay on the stomach to let the arm recover.

@Eureka, thank you for the encouragement! I am inspired by your barefoot walking endurance and foot toughness! I have to say, on the one or two occasions I have barefoot walked, I really enjoyed the extra sensations felt by the foot. I felt very responsive to the ground underfoot and it was a nice mixture between foam rolling (when stepping on rocks or twigs) and soft carpet (when on soft moss or dirt). When you walk barefoot, how concerned are you about possibly stepping on...animal feces/road pollution/other nasties? I will have to check out Katy Bowman's book here soon.

@Western Red Cedar, that's another book I've heard is great but still need to get to. As a runner, I'm curious if long-term my joints will be better off in toe shoes or barefoot, compared to a shoe. My assumption is that they will at least be no worse off for it. I think I remember when the barefoot running thing got big people went too hard too fast...so to avoid injury I've really been easing into it with short, slow runs and very relaxed walks.

I think the next thing I need to figure out is how to get frost resistance +20 like Guru Wim and practice my barefoot walking/running in the snow :)

Alphaville
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Alphaville »

the_platypus wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:04 am
@Alphaville, you mentioned there is a risk of hookworms or other parasites from stepping on animal feces. Actually, what I found was that hookworms and other soil-transmitted helminths (https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/sth/index.html) tend to be transmitted via human feces. Varieties of tapeworms, it seems, can be contracted from either eating infected animal meat or eating an infected flea from a dog or cat. So, do you know specifically what risks are applicable from dog or cat poop on a trail in the more temperate/cold parts of North America?
no, i just default to minimalist shoes and skip calculations at this point. also in my area cactuses and snakes abound, and traditionally people wore moccasins, and cities have broken glass etc. plus other areas have ticks, plus plus plus, etc. impossible to calculate all so minimalist shoes are for me the overall satisficer. including the born to run stuff (nice book).

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satisficing

only place i go shoeless is at the beach due to deeply ingrained atavistic behavior.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@the_platypus - Thanks for updating us on what is working for you.

I've been dealing with plantar fasciitis in my right foot for a little over a decade. I triggered it on a 22 mile run a couple weeks before a marathon and ended up running the race anyway. Probably a dumb idea but I had been training for 9 months and finishing a marathon had been one of my life goals. I've been to multiple physical therapists and never had any sustained success. After doing some research over the last couple of years, I started moving towards minimalist footwear, which ironically was the exact opposite advice I was receiving from PTs.

After reading Born to Run over the summer I've started walking around my apartment barefoot at all times (which is a lot because I'm working from home). I can walk for multiple hours barefoot with little or no heel pain now. My plantar fasciitis is still triggered sometimes when I'm walking, hiking, or standing for some time, but it seems to be slowly getting better since I've started walking around barefoot so much. I gave up running years ago and don't have a strong desire to pick it back up, but I'd love to finally get rid of the plantar fasciitis.

Part of the issue is that I'm sitting so much for my work that certain muscles in my legs and hips are weakened/shortened etc. Standing triggers my plantar fasciitis more than anything so I haven't had much luck with standing desks. I realized that my preferred sleeping position (on my side with my legs in a L shape) along with my unconscious habit of crossing my legs is also likely causing issues.

I certainly think the gradual improvements I've seen are the result of applying more natural approaches to my lifestyle.

Alphaville
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Alphaville »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:54 pm
do you stretch and massage your muscles, tendons, fasciae?

here sample: https://www.healthline.com/health/plant ... is-massage#

but

bob & brad are the best

https://youtu.be/75JvDlvGF_s

Eureka
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Eureka »

the_platypus wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:04 am
When you walk barefoot, how concerned are you about possibly stepping on...animal feces/road pollution/other nasties?
Very little. I have discovered that when I walk barefoot, I am basically constantly aware of where I place my feet. Like having a wider field of vision that includes the ground in front of my feet. It is not something I am doing on purpose it just happens by itself. I suppose this is anyway how humans were moving around before shoes were invented. Thus I never step in animal feces, glas, thorns, or whatever. My only concern is when I cannot see the ground where I step, e.g. when crossing a muddy creek or in a dark night. In such cases I usually wear some kind of protection under my soles, like some kind of huaraches.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Walking, standing, sitting, lying -- more natural approaches?

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Alphaville wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:53 pm
do you stretch and massage your muscles, tendons, fasciae?
Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't checked out Bob and Brad but my wife said she subscribes to their channel.

I stretch regularly, and have tried massaging the fascia with rollers, lacrosse balls, and frozen water bottles. I've basically tried everything except cortisone shots or surgery which I'm not interested in.

My symptoms are a bit different than a lot of people. I don't really have issues in the morning. I usually notice it after walking for at least a mile or two. I have a yoga routine that focuses on hips, lower back, calfs, and hamstrings and my right leg is always tighter than my left.

My current, simplified theory is that a pelvic tilt is causing muscular imbalance. The tilt is exacerbated by time sitting at work, but other issues such as my gait, sleeping patterns, and unconscious habits such as crossing my legs have all probably affected the issue. I'm working on strengthening my glutes, core, and strengthening the right foot, along with doing yoga and stretching more regularly. My last PT said my weight wasn't an issue, but I'd like to drop another 10 pounds which I figure can't hurt.

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