Category Archives: Exercise

Feet up the Wall

Gina Rose of Nourished Naturally writes:

I often spend 5-30 minutes a day with my feet up the wall.
What’s going on in this pose?
Your femur bones are dropping into your hip sockets, relaxing the muscles that help you walk and support your back.
Blood is draining out of your tired feet and legs.
Your nervous system is getting a signal to slow down. Stress release and recovery time.
This position is great for sore legs, helps with digestion & circulation as well as thyroid support. If you suffer from insomnia try this before bed.

I’ve done this at times but at the time never thought through why it might be beneficial. Worth a try! And as they say, it doesn’t hurt to try – but of course it could and if it does hurt, obviously stop straight away.

New evidence on body clock and depression

Researchers found something relevant to people with depression while working on something else (original article at, tnx Andrew for the link).

In a nutshell, what they found was that people with severe depression had their body clock out of whack: they were essentially living in a different timezone. I don’t think it’s actually news to us, I wrote about this and it being the equivalent of jetlag in the BlueHackers HowTo. But, I do think it’s interesting in the sense that at least in the cases the researchers encountered, for people with severe depression there was a genetic cause. We like to know why things are the way they are, so this new info can help in that respect.

Modern life, in particular with the type of work many of us do, makes it really easy to stuff up your day and night rhythm, and also your eating pattern which is actually related to this as well. Getting your day/night, daylight and food intake patterns right is generally a very important base. Not for everybody, but I think definitely for most of us. And while some of these things might still be hard for some, they’re relatively easy steps compared to others. It’s worth a try and they’re also specifically things you can get external help with – you can get a friend to come by for a walk at a specific time of day, or go get a meal.

Once the new pattern is trained (can take up to three months but often it’s much sooner) you’ll find it much easier to stick to, and also that other tasks become easier.

Mind you, I’m very aware that this is still easier said than done – I have my own company arranged in such a way that it doesn’t create nasty work hours, but I also have a family and thus in the mayhem (or even just because of the weather) I sometimes lose (some of) the pattern for a while. But, I’m now aware of it and that does make a difference already – it’s easier to fix. Typically my food pattern stays ok, but the morning walk loses out (by the way, it may be an afternoon walk that works best for you).

Do you know what’s messed with my morning walk lately? The city council has closed off a footbridge crossing a creek (storm damage), and that was the only way through in that particular direction. I can create other walking loops but they’re less convenient for several reasons – I’ve walked some but it feels less comfortable. I’m generally ok with change but it’s funny how this is just very disruptive!

How do day/night, exercise and food patterns work for you, and how have you tweaked them to work better for you? Please tell, it will help others.

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Concentration and Focus

You might recognise this… reduced concentration (getting in to a task and sticking with it) and ability to focus (example would be when interacting with people)

I’m not certain whether the original cause is actually related to depression, and/or the fact that I’ve been “online” for 25 years… with more recent technology it’s pretty easy to make the point that through the way we work it, it can easily mess with our ability to focus. We tend to work on an “interrupt” basis, that is we start some task but at any point a number of things can pop up (sometimes literally), ring, go blip or otherwise draw our attention. I believe this is messy and while I don’t want to ditch my online presence I’m thinking about ways to remedy this. I think it’s possible, I just need to act less immediate – basically turn off the blips. It’s often tempting and an excellent procrastination tool, but it’s not good.

With regard to focus, I’ve made the observation that I can’t keep looking at a person I am talking with, specifically while in listening-mode. I hear and take in what they’re saying, but I find myself frequently looking at things nearby before refocussing (head doesn’t move) – that’s in part apparently a thing that visual-spatial people do (school kid looking out the window instead of at teacher may actually be paying really close attention), but I’ve found that it has one very serious problem: you miss the bodylanguage. And that’s apart from the conversation partner possibly getting upset with your apparent lack of attention for them. Whatever the cause(s), I’d like to see if I can improve my focus.

I’ve been looking in to exercises that can help with these things, and most are fairly simple and straightforward but utterly boring things: stuff like focusing on an idea (mentally) or point/item (physically) for a set period of time, timing the duration of the focus you can maintain, refocussing your mind on the topic, and thus training your brain to get better at it. It’s valid, but not much direct fun and that leads to neglect rather than commitment 😉

Today I found another option: juggling. I was at a kiddie medieval festival with my daughter, and one of her things for the day was “jester school” and parents/carers were allowed to partake. We did diabolo and basic juggling. I’ve always wanted to learn juggling but never had a live tutor for it. I think the “task” of juggling covers all the skills that need to be trained (concentration, focus) and it’s fun! Plus, if you get better at the skill, the juggling improves so there’s a very direct external feedback mechanism that can even be shown off to others in an entertaining way… all win! 😉

See this ABC Australia video for some basic hints on juggling. What she doesn’t tell there is that the arm action should keep your elbows still, and the point your eyes should focus on is about in front of your forehead, that’s where the crossover balls get aimed. Google for other tutorials (text/diagram pages might help in addition to videos). At this stage I can’t yet say I can juggle, but even the basic steps are good exercises so I’m going to stick with it and see where it leads!

I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on all of this: jugging as an exercise for other stuff, causes for focus/concentration problems, etc. Everybody is different, and these things tend to not get talked about but it’s stuff many of us struggle with in some way so it’s really important. Thanks!

Exercising with a Purpose

I usually just do my early morning walks with ipod/podcast, eating an apple (listen to an apple, eat an apple 😉

It’s state election time around here, and I’m helping a local candidate… that brings up the usual letterbox drops for local events and such (yes, I’m avoiding any letterbox with a “no junk mail” or similar sticker). Anyway, this makes for a nice variation on the exercising, as I’ve now walked up and down extra hilly side-streets that I normally wouldn’t visit.