Here are Bowman’s tips for life stacking.
1. Consume “movement vitamins,” just like other nutrients.
“We require more movement than that just enough to improve our outcomes on physical fitness measures. There are types and amounts and distribution of movement throughout your body that add up to something better than consuming one type of movement over and over. You wouldn’t go to a nutritionist who said you just need to eat more to get the nutrients you need.” A nutritionist will often recommend “eating the rainbow” to get more diverse nutrients and along these lines, Bowman suggests “moving the rainbow”—move lots of your parts, in many different ways.
Bowman explains that quality, not just quantity, of movement is crucial. Just like you can become ill if you have too little vitamin D and you can become ill if you have too much, the same goes for too much or too little of just one kind of movement.
2. Sitting is not often required to tend to your needs.
Partner time is just as important as family time, and Bowman and her husband realized that the usual “date night” activities involved sitting. “Sitting down in a dark movie theater to watch something on a screen isn’t even something that we like!” she says. So Bowman and her husband schedule date hikes to talk as they walk and even play—trying to balance on fallen trees. Other things to do or take care of while walking include coffee dates with friends, book club discussions and even conference calls done on the move.
3. Redefine rest.
“It’s a paradox that we have never been as sedentary, and we’ve never really been as under-rested or under-stimulated as we are now,” she says. Bowman points out that we think of rest and recovery in the sense of exercise—not moving but looking at our mobile devices so that our brain never gets a break. “I think we need more movement, and I think we need more rest,” she says, “But we need to define what rest is, in a high-tech society.” Is it lying on the couch, doing a few dozen mind flips with each swipe of a thumb, or is it an easygoing walk on a quiet path?
Bowman recommends taking a break that’s appropriate to the source of stimulation: “Is it negativity on a screen? Is it a person? Is it a way of being? Maybe you take a tech-free Sunday or a screen-free week. You get to define what your own version of rest is.”
4. Move yourself and start a movement.
People often ask Bowman how to get someone else in their life to move more. “There is so much research that says the person you want to move needs to want it himself or herself,” Bowman says. “I think sometimes we don’t move forward because we’re concerned that someone we love is not going to go there with us, so nobody goes.”
“The way you serve that person and yourself (that’s life stacking) is through role modeling … because at least you’re taking care of yourself. And guess what? That person wants to be with you” and just might have to move to do so. When Bowman considers how one person’s momentum can spark action in another, the potential to start a movement is huge.
Photo/video credit: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com
Hair and make-up: Katie Nash, katienashbeauty.com