‘Sedentary fitness’, this new-age post-pandemic wellness mantra sounds more like an oxymoron, but is a much bigger reality and requires attention more than ever right now!
With pandemic hitting hard, and work-from-home becoming a new normal, life came to a halt and moving became more of a luxury than a necessity. Thus, went up the consumption of comfort foods that satiate emotional hunger more than the real hunger.
Additionally, indoor-sedentary life and blurred boundaries between sleeping and wake-up time became the new way of life, this time not by choice but by chance! The health risks associated with this way of life need a different perspective to deal with while sedentary way of life continues to be the new normal. Thus, the new fitness mantra had to be something that fits-in into the lifestyle of every household and that suits the new sedentary life of humans. Thus, sedentary fitness became quite a necessity driven by the demand of the hour.
Pandemic-induced way of life left us with no choice but to find ways to strike a balance between foods and activity in a way that supports health even in a sedentary mode. Thus, it is important to see health from a whole new perspective where the focus is much-needed on how foods can be used as medicine and much activity can still be incorporated even in a sedentary indoor way of life. This understanding need to go beyond existing understanding of maintaining health to delve deeper into what causes diseases at the first place.
As per Ayurveda and Yoga philosophy, almost all lifestyle related health conditions are considered to be an outcome of internally unclean and highly toxic body environment that blocks the internal channels and disturbs the functioning of organ systems from where diseases manifest. Thus, a diet that can help keep body internally clean by supporting toxin elimination and a lifestyle that incorporates strategic movements even in sedentary mode is the new fitness mantra!
Foods to Support Sedentary Fitness
The approach to eating that supports health even in a sedentary mode is the one that leaves minimal toxic load on the body and is highly digestible. This approach of eating is medicinal and different from the ideology of calorie restriction approach. At the foundational level, diseases manifest due to overload in the body and minimizing this overload with right food choices is the way to go when it comes to sedentary fitness.
Macrobiotic dietary approach supports this way of eating by keeping minimal toxic load on the body with choices made from whole and natural foods. This approach helps keep proper balance between metabolism and elimination with high-fibre and low glycemic index food choices as a part of its dietary planning.
To support a clean internal body state for sedentary fitness, the Macrobiotic approach to diet recommends consumption of plant based, whole and unrefined foods, including a variety of whole grains, beans, vegetables nuts and seeds and soups. Inclusion of whole grains such as oats, brown rice, barley or millets add fibre to the body that helps in eliminating toxins.
Analgesic herbs such as ginger supports circulation and is helpful in keeping body in a state of flow avoiding stagnation. It helps helps deal with inflammatory conditions which cause unexplained aches and pains in the body. Walnuts with high omega 3 content support the elasticity of blood vessels, while pumpkin seeds protect body tissues and the elasticity of veins and joints.
While it is important to incorporate such foods with medicinal value in diet, it is equally important to get rid of processed, refined, store-bought edibles and consume more of home-cooked food. Such foods create a clogging and toxic condition in the body, leading to internal blockages.
Movement Practices that Support Sedentary Fitness
Gentle body movements are therapeutic in nature and keep the body supple, clean and free-flowing from within. Often times movement is confused with exercise. While exercise is a form of movement, incorporating strategic movements that enhance circulation or create simulating effect on organs can go a long way in supporting health even in a sedentary way of life. Practicing few rounds of Surya Namaskar each morning opens up the internal flow and makes circulation reach all parts of the body.
Creating friction on the skin with body oiling practice such as Abhyanga mentioned in Ayurveda, is yet another effective way to induce circulation related movement within the body. For people spending most of their life sitting on a chair in a working-from-home mode, simple practices such as mid-section twists can go a long way in supporting digestive health and unclogging action to breakdown the toxins. With a keen and regular Yoga practice, one can keep the body detoxified on a regular basis that helps keep body clean and free flowing from within.
Sedentary fitness is about strengthening the foundations of health which include great circulatory health, clean body state and great elimination so the body does not hold onto toxins that become disease causing factors in later years.
The author, Deepti Sehgal, is an ICF certified wellness coach and founder of a selfcare brand 'Svarasya'. The views expressed are personal
First Published: IST