We are renovating our kitchen. Exciting, frustrating, expensive and oh my goodness so very dusty!

I have noticed a few things that peaked my attention….

Observation #1
As some of you know, I used to be a stagehand. Many years ago, I spent my time working in theatre carrying heavy things, climbing ladders, hanging lights, hefting 4×8 sheets of plywood and the like. I was usually the only woman on the crew and at 5’3″ tall and a whopping 110 lbs I had a lot to prove! I wore steel toe boots, and slung a hammer with the best of them.

Fast forward 20 years, and I was helping with the demolition of the kitchen. I was wearing work boots, covered in plaster dust and hanging’ with the guys. And I was swaggering….

Holy cow, I was walking like a stagehand!

The associations I have deep in my body memory of doing that kind of work led me to walk with the same upper body swing I see in so many men. Instead of the torso moving straight ahead as the arms and legs swing in a reflex driven, posterior chain action, my whole shoulder girdle was moving as a unit. To be clear, the “crew” I was with last week included my husband, one of his colleagues and one of my best friends. I had nothing to prove to anyone and I was on my own home turf.

Alignment is a physical position gauged by objective markers. There are no cultural associations with alignment. Posture, however, is intimately connected to how we FEEL about presenting ourselves to the world. Those feelings are resilient and long-lasting, and apparently can be triggered by something as simple as the weight of work boots and the act of manual labour. The posture and movement pattern I recognised in myself has to do with taking up a little more space, pushing forward and exuding confidence. Sadly, it also strains the back and reduces the action of the triceps, the posterior shoulder muscles and the hips. Fortunately, I don’t walk like that anymore on a regular basis!

Observation #2
We have set up a temporary kitchen in the basement. The table and food prep areas are in the main room, water is accessed in the laundry room. I am covering a lot more ground over the course of the day! I keep forgetting to charge my fitbit (pedometer) in the flurry of my life, but when it is actually on and measuring my movements, I am often hitting 10 000 steps by early afternoon. Awesome! Climbing the stairs more often, traveling a greater distance in the basement itself than I would in my conveniently laid out work triangle and moving from the temporary kitchen bistro up to the second floor where the office is now housed (it has been in the kitchen for the last many years) is good for me. Thank goodness, because the rest of the reno process is kind of tiring….
We are so often pleased about making things more efficient, thinking that is good for us, but our craving for convenience comes at a physical cost. I walk a lot through my days, and I am lucky to live in a super walkable neighbourhood with a flexible schedule and a job I can walk to. But remember that something as simple as how you move around in your home can affect your total movement achieved through the day!

Observation #3
There is no way to make doing dishes in a laundry tub a good thing.
I’ve tried. I really have. Hinging at the hips to make it a double calf stretch. Lifting the bottom of my rib cage to engage my transverse and protect my back. Lifting things up. Nope. Nothing helps.
Do them often so they don’t pile up and then stretch like crazy when they’re done! My stretch of choice? Floor angels on the bolster to release my psoas and back muscles, stretch my arms and shoulders and allow my neck to fall back into neutral.
Check out floor angels here!

K, off to do those dishes now!
Xo
Alison

Move SMART with Alison Crouch

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