Still sitting?

My six-year old son, Henry, started year 1 this week. This got me thinking about school and about learning in general – how kids lap it up and how our education shapes our whole lives. And I thought it was time, like Henry, to learn a few new skills.

So this year, I’m going to focus on two things: how to be still and how to move more.

About being still

Sound paradoxical? Let me explain. The ‘being still’ part is meditation, and the prompt came from Henry, my six-year old son. While I was sorting out his school stuff (he started ‘proper school’ this week) I came across his 2016 self-assessment form. In it he had to name what he considered the year’s highlight and success. He chose meditation! You can see his innovative spelling below.

I was touched and delighted. Research shows that meditation focuses, clarifies and improves thinking. It also has a host of other physical and psychological benefits. To Henry, it comes as easily as brushing his teeth and he’ll have it all his life because he learned it when he was young.

For ages, I’ve been promising to make meditation a daily practice and this year I’m going to learn how, and I’m going to do it. I’ll start small – a few minutes only – and go from there.

About moving more

By moving more, I don’t mean formal exercise, scheduled around work or on weekends. I mean during working hours, as part of how we do our jobs.

You see, Henry’s new venture got me thinking about schools have changed since my day (sorry, didn’t mean to sound like a granny). It wasn’t just what we were taught, but how. Remember the rote learning, the long lines of desks? Most of all, remember how we were made to sit still for hours until we did it so well we kept doing it through high school and university and into our adult TV-watching lives? I mentioned this to Brad Leeon, my Pilates instructor. He pointed out that having mastered the art of sitting, we now need to un-master it because prolonged sitting is one of the unhealthiest and most ageing things you can do to your body.

Today, learning styles have changed. Rote learning has been replaced by investigation, long lines of desks by collaboration spaces. Teaching has become more flexible and dynamic and this means kids are being encouraged to move about during class time.

Similar changes are playing out in the workforce. Springday Project Manager Anna Maria Rose has just returned from Amsterdam and Stockholm where she met Colliers International, who are rolling out workplace solutions, including a technological strategy, to maximise wellbeing – like, for example, integrating walking routes into work spaces, so staff can have walking meetings.

We’re passing this learning on to other clients, including discussing possibilities with Telstra NBN on sponsoring an activity challenge with an in-building route marked out with masking tape. Each week, winners will have a shoe imprinted on the route, like a star on the walk of fame.

A second idea is to limit meetings to sessions of 25 or 50 minutes max, allowing people to walk and stretch between meetings rather than rushing from one chair to another.

Also, Springday’s working with device partners Garmin on better Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). This means we can get time-stamped data and so from mid-year we’ll be running activity-based challenges on activities done during the workday, for example a goal of 3000 steps between 9am and 3pm.

At home, too, people are taking on the challenge of un-mastering sitting still. In a recent article, titled How To Trick Your Body Into Being Younger, author Sarah Berry quotes research which shows that today even older people are more aware of physical activity.

In active cultures, such as hunter-gatherer cultures, people that survive live longer and healthier lives. Scientists have long advocated movement, both scheduled exercise and incidental movement, as good for your health. Now they’re finding out how beneficial simply standing up can be. ‘Standing more activates the postural muscles’, says exercise physiologist Dr Bill Sukala. ‘Simply being upright and gravity-bearing activates those muscles and helps to activate those fat and sugar sponges…that reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.’

The body, says Sukala, doesn’t always know age, but it definitely knows neglect. So, he says, use it or lose it with mobility and movement.

So this year, my back to school project is to learn to meditate and do it daily, and to work out how to keep moving while I work. Why don’t you join me? Let’s do it together. Email if you’re interested and I’ll add progress reports, tips and advice to the newsletter.

What's new

We did it!

For those of you who’ve been following, my 2017 started with a big bang. Our yacht, Springday Pazazz, made it to Hobart in stunning fashion. We came first in our division, beating the second-place getter by 80 seconds. Yes, after 3 days and 53 minutes at sea, we won by 80 seconds!! Here is the Springday Pazazz boat opening the highlight video and my Dad’s shiny smiley face basking in his achievement at the 1.55 mark.

Springday Update

Want to bring wellbeing to the world? Wellbeing Operations Manager

Springday's expanding, and we seek a Project Manager, someone to wrangle clients and wellbeing vendors in our new New Zealand operation. We’re looking for a talented self-starter, someone passionate about wellbeing, who can grow both the role and the business.

If you’re interested, check out the ad on our corporate website.

What else is going on

Sometimes it seems that having fun, being spontaneous and doing something unexpected is too hard – although it’s free, healthy and important. This article explains why having fun is so essential.

Turns out that we really must apply preventative solutions to our workforce. A new report shows that one third of all employees who claim sickness benefits suffer from the impacts obesity has on them - a condition that could be prevented and treated.

Check out these 10 songs that are proven to calm you down and help you de-stress.

Have you heard of the Femeconomy Effect? It’s the impact that women can have when channelling their collective purchasing power towards brands with female leaders. I love this concept – what do you think?

A run a day keeps tumours at bay. Researchers confirm that regular physical activity positively impacts on the risk of developing new or returning forms of cancer.

Imagine never again having to prick your skin for your blood sugar levels and insulin injections. This article explores the pros and cons of implantables.

Get inspired and watch this Ted Talk about refusing to let fear hold you back because everybody, not just specific people, have genius.