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Physical Adaptations For Well-Being

Physical Adaptations For Well-Being

Physical Adaptations for Well-Being

In today’s modern world there is an app for almost every situation. If something is wrong or needs improvement, we can pull out our iPhone and search for the solution. However, when it comes to our physical well-being, what we truly need is a physical adaptation to change the course of how we do things.

Many illnesses and chronic issues can be linked back to how we live in our physical bodies. Much like house maintenance, the longer you neglect your body, the more damaged the structure becomes. Those once small issues can quickly become much larger.
I often get asked questions about how to get rid of pain or reduce symptoms. The way I translate these issues is “give me a quick fix to my problem.”

What if there isn’t a magic pill to heal your back pain, or improve your core? Instead, maybe it’s about awareness of how you move (or don’t move) in this world, and thinking about the environment that you put yourself in day after day. Should you consider a change in that environment to prevent your “house” from beginning to fall apart?

I teach yoga and fitness, but one thing I stress is to ask yourself the following questions: How can you take these movements into your everyday life? How can you transform your day-to-day routines so that you can increase your overall well-being? Participating in an hour long yoga class, or running five miles is an excellent start, but there are 23 more hours in the day that you need to take care of your body.

Decreasing the negatives is about increasing your well-being, and the best way to do that is by evaluating your environment.

  • Take a look around you. Does your environment promote a sense of ease, reduced stress, fluid movement, and natural living?
  • Consider how much natural light you are receiving into your workspace or home. Increasing natural lighting can boost serotonin, which can heighten your alertness and better your mood.
  • Work to decrease clutter in your workspace and home. Physical clutter is easily transferable to both the feeling and experience of mental disarray. Having more fluidness in your workspace will positively affect work output.
  • Evaluate if your workspace or overall environment promotes a lifestyle that encourages movement, or if it fosters a sedentary lifestyle.

All too often we have solutions right in front of us, and yet we struggle to make a genuine investment in our continued health. It is my observation that as a culture, we have been trained to only make reactive investments in our health and wellbeing once we become sick or ailing.

Instead, become proactive. I have worked to do this in my life through some small steps.

I have dramatically reduced eye strain and the feeling of tiredness by not having the lights on in my office and by keeping the shades open during office hours, enjoying the natural light.

By taking the time to let go of possessions that no longer serve me, I have physically and energetically made room for the newness I am working towards.

Finally, I have begun re-evaluating my workspace and home life and investing in my family’s health on the front end. This has included creating standing workspaces, using functional chairs (like the Move), breaking stereotypes at the dinner table by enlisting our family in picnic style dinners on the floor, and even by walking lunches. All of these creative and healthy choices have helped me to promote movement and a more fluid lifestyle for each of my family members.

These simple (and fun) changes have increased my overall total daily movement, which has reduced my stiffness, back, and neck pain. As if that wasn’t enough, I mentally feel better too. Take the time to evaluate and update, and enjoy the benefits!

This post is part of our Ambassador series.

Hope Zavara owns and operates a yoga and functional fitness studio in her hometown of Hartford, WI. Along with the brick and mortar studio, Hope operates an online studio as well training and seminars both live and online. You can find our more about her at or

Hope’s mission is to help others purposefully excel. Her own early struggle with a life-threatening eating disorder and then the loss of her first child led her to realize that her name is not just a name, but a symbol. Hope has helped change thousands of lives of the past 15 years, going beyond her experience in the fitness and wellness industry.

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A Move In the Right Direction

A Move In the Right Direction

“You are how you move,” or should it be, “You are how you don’t move?”

Take a moment and ask yourself the above question, and be honest. Do your movements or lack thereof, play a role in your attitude towards life and the current outcomes you are living in?

Our body is our soul’s last attempt to get us to listen. The pain you feel, your aching back, your sore feet, your “hunched over the computer” posture, and your sucked-in cell phone body positioning are slowly changing your interactions with life and are negatively affecting your overall health and well-being.

The truth is, how we do some things is often how we do most things. So, stop for a moment and assess your posture, your positioning, and your breathing. Ask yourself if this is how you want to be presented to the world. Is this a posture that screams five-star general ready to take on the next task, or are you more like Quasimodo anticipating yet another bag to be thrown on your aching back?

For many of us we yo-yo from one quick fix to another, one diet to the next, or one fitness fad to the latest with little success. Our same issues are still lingering and we make little to no measurable change in our everyday lives.

Make today Day One of a new perspective on living. Gain a new outlook on how you are presenting yourself to the world, not just in your yoga or CrossFit class, but during all of your daily tasks. You know, the ones where no one is watching you; the ones that you think don’t affect you.

Things like:

  • How you sit at your desk
  • Lounging on your couch with your cell phone in hand
  • How you sit behind the steering wheel
  • How much you truly move during the day (total quantity)
  • Your shoe choices
  • How you stand in the checkout line
  • How you carry your bag, your laundry basket, or your 30-pound kid
  • And finally, how you exercise

All the above and more play into how you physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically feel about yourself and about life.

Today, pay attention to your feet. What direction are they pointing in when you walk? What type of shoes are you wearing? When your foot hits the ground, what part of your foot does and doesn’t touch the surface? Do you spend more time on your bum or on your feet?

For the next 24 hours focus on your feet pointing forward when you walk and stand. Tune in if you are a leaner: start to shift your body weight back to both feet. Consider kicking off those fancy shoes of yours and going tout naturel (fancy way of saying all natural in French) to give those feet a chance to do what they are meant to do in an environment that asks them to move, flex, stretch and breathe.

Every action has a Day One, and today is the day that you step back into your body and learn how to live in it again.

Here’s to a move in the right direction.

This post is part of our Ambassador series.

Hope Zavara owns and operates a yoga and functional fitness studio in her hometown of Hartford, WI. Along with the brick and mortar studio, Hope operates an online studio as well training and seminars both live and online. You can find our more about her at or

Hope’s mission is to help others purposefully excel. Her own early struggle with a life-threatening eating disorder and then the loss of her first child led her to realize that her name is not just a name, but a symbol. Hope has helped change thousands of lives of the past 15 years, going beyond her experience in the fitness and wellness industry.

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest in Active Seating sent right to your inbox.

NEAT™ Certification

NEAT™ Certification

Sit Down. Move On. Get Healthy.

A Mayo Clinic study has now confirmed that using a Varier Move® in place of a regular office chair significantly increases caloric expenditure and may deliver long-term health benefits.

Consistent movement throughout the day, however small or inconsequential it might seem, can add up to big health benefits. It was this simple idea that inspired Dr. James Levine of Mayo Clinic to coin the term NEAT™ or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

The philosophy (and the real science that backs it up) is that small changes to daily habits can mean BIG things when it comes to overall health and wellness. It’s the same philosophy that inspired the thinking behind the Varier Move.

NEAT™ describes the body’s energy expended when not at the gym, not out biking or running, and not scaling Mt. Everest. In other words, NEAT™ is a measure of the effect of activity that comprises the majority of a person’s typical day. The higher someone’s NEAT™, the more calories they’re burning. Over time, high NEAT™ behaviors and choices can add up to real improvements in cardiovascular health, help with weight loss, and improve overall health.

It doesn’t take much to increase your individual NEAT™ or the NEAT™ of large groups of individuals. An ambling 7-minute walk after lunch, choosing to stand at your desk for part of your workday, walking to the SECOND closest bathroom, far parking, or (as shown by a recent study) using a Varier Move are all easy ways to increase NEAT™. Put these small, simple changes in action every day, and you have a compelling health plan for the non-exercise part of your day. Do this every day, week, and year, and you can reap significant health benefits over time.

Mayo Clinic’s study looked at 30 individuals of varying age, body type, and gender. The test results showed that a Varier Move increased thermogenesis by an average of over 18% compared to sitting in a regular office chair. As a result, the Varier Move is now officially a NEAT™ certified office product.

Tested and proven by Mayo Clinic, we know that using a Varier Move in place of a conventional office chair is one of those small, important steps you can take toward better health.

Varier Move! Pretty neat, right?

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Deskercise With Coach Eddy

Deskercise With Coach Eddy

Deskercise With Coach Eddy.

Iconic chairs inspire active sitting.

Made to move with your body, Varier chairs inspire continual, controlled movement. You sit upright, engaging and strengthening your core muscles. Your feet and legs are in motion, which stimulates your circulation. Your shoulders and chest are open, making it easy to breathe deeply, boosting your blood oxygen levels, circulation, and general wellbeing. Enjoy the freedom of active sitting this summer with Edward ‘Coach Eddie’ Bergersen, a personal trainer and movement therapist based in Geneva, Switzerland. Coach Eddie has tailored a set of exercises for your chair that are easy to perform during short breaks in your busy day.

Angel wings

This exercise stretches the rotator cuff, the deep muscles of the shoulder joint. These muscles need to be strong in order for the ‘prime movers’ of the shoulder (the big superficial muscles that younger guys love to train) to function properly.

What to do:
Place your closed fists on your hips and puff out your chest. Without collapsing your chest, try to bring your elbows together. You’ll feel a deep stretch in your shoulders. Bring your elbows back and forearms in towards your body and ‘open up’ your arms, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Alternate between both positions so it looks like you’re ‘flying’ with your elbows.

Seated deep hip-rotator

Therapists and coaches call the shoulder the ‘mischievous younger brother’ of the hip. And just like the shoulder, the hip can also act up. This exercise targets the deep stabilizers, or ‘rotator cuff’ of the hip.

What to do:
Lower the seat until your hips are at a 90° angle to your upper legs. With your back straight, place one ankle on the opposite knee. Push your knee gently down until you feel a stretch in the hip. With your back straight, bend slightly forward to increase the stretch. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side. To stretch the opposing group of hip rotators, place your feet wider than shoulder width apart, then bring your knees together, and hold for 20 seconds.

Note: if you experience any knee pain during this exercise, either skip it, or reduce the intensity of the stretch.

Palm peel

When we type or write, our wrist extensors (the muscles that lift the hand) are constantly contracted and the flexors (the muscles that bend the wrist) are constantly stretched. This can lead to conditions like mouse arm, or carpal tunnel syndrome. If you’ve had one or both of these, no explanation is needed. If you haven’t, trust me, you don’t want to know.

What to do:
Stand behind the chair. Grip the chair with one hand to stabilize it, and place the other hand flat, with your fingers pointing back toward you. Gently straighten your elbow to stretch your forearm. Then slowly bend your forearm and ‘peel’ your palm off the chair. Repeat five times on each wrist.

Straight-arm plank

An office version of a timeless classic, the plank activates the stabilizing muscles of your midsection, which unfortunately weakens when you sit for long periods. To activate your deep shoulder muscles, keep your arms straight.

What to do:
Stand behind your chair and lower the seat until it’s about halfway down your thigh. Place your hands on the seat like you’re holding a steering wheel. Step backward until your body is in a rigid plank position, and you feel your arms and core contract. To up the action, tilt your pelvis backward, and tuck your imaginary tail between your legs. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Ready for more? Tilt the chair so it balances on the edge of the base.

Note: only try the tilted chair version if you can hold the normal version for at least one minute.

‘Move’ assisted downward dog

One of my favorite yoga poses, the downward dog stretches all the muscles in the back of the body and improves circulation to the brain. But, busting out a downward dog in the office may be awkward. That’s where your Move comes in. Use the chair for balance, and to hide your embarrassment at sticking your butt in the air at work.

What to do:
Raise the chair to its highest position. Stand in front of it, with your hands on the seat, and tilt it toward you. Push the chair forward, while lowering your chest to the floor. You’ll feel the stretch in your chest, shoulder, mid-back, and hamstrings. Hold this position for a few seconds, then stand, pushing your hips forward and your hands downward and toward you. Repeat 10-20 times.

Seated chest and mid-back move

Long hours in front of a screen with your shoulders internally rotated, and rounded creates a lot of tension in the chest and mid-back. Unfortunately for your neck, it’s attached to your shoulders, so when they pull forward, your neck compresses into hyperextension. That’s not good. This exercise will ‘un-glue’ some of the stiffness, and liberate your neck.

What to do:
Grab the base of the seat and rock slightly forward in the chair, pulling your shoulders back, and pushing your chest forward. Hold this position for a few seconds then rock back, slowly releasing your grip, and reach forward. As you do this, turn your palms out and thumbs downward and in, while pushing out the mid-back. You’ll feel the stretch between your shoulder blades. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat eight times.

Seated forward reach

Tight hips? That’s because your butt is not a load-bearing surface. The hips need to be mobile, so give them a little extra love. A combined stretch and activation, it ‘switches on’ your lower back, and lightly stretches the hamstrings.

What to do:
Place your heels on the floor in front of you, and straighten your back. Slightly arch your back, reach your arms forward and bend at the hip. You’ll feel the stretch in your hamstrings and calves. Don’t bend the spine forward. Hold the stretch for five seconds, then sit up. Repeat five times.

Neck mobilisation party

Rounded shoulders and a rounded upper back (kyphosis) lead to a hyperextended upper neck. Osteopaths and other manual therapists often manipulate or crack the neck joint to release it. These upper neck mobilizations will loosen this area. To isolate the upper neck vertebrae, imagine you have a pencil on your chin and you’re drawing a large circle in the air.

What to do:
Grab the underside of your chair and lean forward, so your neck is at a 45° angle to the floor. Rotate your neck slowly from side to side, like you’re looking over your shoulder. Repeat five times on each side. Next, draw a circle in the air with your chin. Repeat five times on each side. Grab the underside of the chair and lean back, keeping your back rounded until you feel a stretch between your shoulder blades. Slowly nod your head up and down eight times, then try to touch your ear to your shoulder – repeat five times each side. You’ve now covered every possible joint angle – embrace the suppleness!

Note: neck exercises must be performed slowly. If you feel any pain, dizziness, or nausea, stop immediately.

Invisible chair

If your muscles aren’t active, your peripheral circulation decreases. To activate your lower body and increase your peripheral circulation, take a break on an invisible chair.

What to do:
Using the chair for balance, do an air squat and hold the position halfway for 20 seconds. Make sure your weight is toward your heels, instead of on your toes.